The Eindhoven Summit on Service Innovation in Cities: who owns the future?Thursday, December 1, 2011 13:20
The Eindhoven Summit on Service Innovation in cities is a one-day event organized by the city of Eindhoven and Living Labs Global, a non-profit organization committed to making cities worldwide cleaner, safer and smarter through service innovation. This brings businesses and cities together, with the aim of creating public/private partnerships and introducing new business models to improve the quality of life in an increasingly urban world.
photo courtesy Living Labs Global | Flickr album Living Labs Global
Hosted in Eindhoven, home to the consumer electronics giant Philips, the Summit took place in the iconic Evoluon building, which was commissioned by the city’s late and much-revered Frits Philips, aka “Meneer Frits”, who inaugurated the building as a educational centre for science and technology in 1966 to celebrate Philips’ 75th anniversary. The Evoluon has now been converted into a conference centre, and on November 24 the agenda of the summit alternated matchmaking activities and events on the themes of smart urban lighting and energy, e-health and smart living, and wellbeing in cities.
Evoluon, Eindhoven. Photo courtesy Living Labs Global | Flickr album Living Labs Global
Cluster participated in the Urban Lighting Session moderated by Prof. Elke den Ouden of the Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands and facilitated a visioning workshop on Sustainable Tourism (more about this later).
The urban lighting session: rethinking lighting in the public realm
The session on urban lighting was a parallel panel discussion moderated by Prof. Elke den Ouden of the Technical University of Eindhoven, (TUE) Netherlands, which included four presentations: “STRIJP-S: creating a public lighting experience” by Lorna Goulden of Philips Design; “Pushing the boundary of Urban Lighting“, Ellen de Vries, Het Lux Lab, Netherlands; “Integral Solutions for Urban Infrastructures”, Josep Maria Serra, Santa&Col, and “Sensor City Assen“, Jan Reitsma, Director, Stichting Sensor City.
Lorna Goulden – Smart Urban Lighting Session. Photo courtesy Living Labs Global | Flickr album Living Labs Global
Each of the speakers presented innovative projects which illustrated how Dutch companies, researchers, stakeholders and cities are making concentrated efforts to integrate modern-day technologies (predominately combinations of LED and Sensor technologies) to create adaptive lighting solutions in public space, in order to enhance the overall empirical quality of city lighting for citizens, improve urban safety, reduce energy consumption and evolve with change.
It was interesting to see how many aspects of city life involve lighting issues and can benefit from innovative lighting systems in the future. For example, Ellen de Vries demonstrated how sensor technology is able to identify ‘fear’ through a certain frequency and in response adapt the lighting in that particular safety hotspot.
Smart Urban Lighting Session. Photo courtesy Living Labs Global | Flickr album Living Labs Global
The city of Eindhoven itself has an ambitious urban development plan underway called ‘Strijp – S’, set to regenerate 66 acres of a former Philips industrial site into a creative location for work, rest and play. In particular, it will boast a fully integrated, partly open-source and completely programmable public lighting system. Leading the city project as creative director is Lorna Goulden of Philips Design.
The city of Assen is working towards becoming a Sensor City to facilitate all sorts of service developments which go beyond lighting, extending to soundscaping, e-health, mobility, and distributed energy, to name but a few.
The revelations of the various speakers were quite awe-inspiring and stirred up much discussion among attendees. As questions bounced from the floor the event soon became a lively debate, which was clearly dominated by issues related to data management, transparency, IP and public consensus: the grey areas.
As we scrabble to find new models for economic development and sustainable growth, it is evident that there are still issues – and not technological ones – impeding (or at least stalling) the innovation process in cities, and these problems call for solutions.
Everyone in the room agreed that cities need to take urgent action to respond to pressing problems and adapt to systemic change, but questions continue to be raised by key individuals within the public, private and civil sectors: Who owns the data? What happens if a solution doesn’t work? Who decides on behalf of the citizens? How to manage expectations? How can cities renew regulations for the implementation of new technologies if they don’t know where they will lead? What belongs to citizens in public space? When does the focus on technology prevail over people’s needs? How do we help people make conscious, informed decisions?
The Urban Lighting Session at the Eindhoven Summit on Service Innovation in Cities sparked interesting discussion and although some questions remained unanswered, it was a unique opportunity for city leaders, design experts and companies to exchange experiences and knowledge, exploring new approaches to urban lighting which are inclusive, sustainable and fulfill their promise.
More posts on the Eindhoven Summit for Service Innovation in Cities to follow.