Open Cities – Guimaraes 2012, European Capital of Culture

Guimaraes in Portugal is one of two host cities for the European Capital of Culture 2012 (shared with Maribor, Slovenia). As part of a programme of events Watershed will be leading a project exploring the concept of Open Cities, both in Europe and further afield, and I am delighted to be producing the project on their behalf.

The concept of an Open City is one where an inclusive, and in many cases technology enabled, approach allows wide engagement in driving the social, cultural and commercial life of the city – whether in addressing specific local issues of governance, innovation and infrastructure, or wider societal drivers of sustainability, multiculturalism or social interaction.

Within the Open Cities project we will explore six specific strands of investigation:

  1. Openness as a methodology for achieving positive change – the big picture
  2. Designing the City – public ownership of place and space
  3. Governance – citizenship and the relationship between the personal and the political
  4. The Smart City – technology as a driver for action and interaction
  5. Innovation – the network as a catalyst and collaborative organizer
  6. Environment – sustainable actions in an urban context

This exploration will commission think-pieces, interventions and events across Europe and extend to both the US and Brazil.

Between now and December 2012 the Open Cities project will stage international events (including virtual events linked across the globe) and commission keynote speeches, articles and artworks, all building towards a Symposium and Open Cities publication in Guimaraes.

The first commissioned authors and partner international cities will be announced over the coming weeks and I’ll update here.

In the interim we’ll also be advertising for a project co-ordinator, preferably Portuguese / English bilingual – if you know someone who might be interested, get in touch.

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