First thoughts on UrbanLabs

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photos by Enric Senabre 

UrbanLabs has been a very ambitious project which has brought people together from all over Spain and beyond at Citilab-Cornellà to discuss and possibly construct a common vision of where we are going digitally and the crossover to an increasingly blurred “real” life. Unfortunately due to my wife Ana being ill I had to return to Lleida after the first day and a morning spent poking around the magnificant space that is Citilab-Cornellà, thanks to the invitation of a very busy Enric Senabre who made me more than welcome. Since returning home, I’ve followed the rest of the event on the web and although I haven’t been able to participate directly, have been able to watch the streaming of the thought-provoking talk given by Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation as well the interesting presentation of David Cierco, the General Director of the Plan Avanza of the Spanish government. It also means that I was able to see this morning’s discussion of the future and organisation of UrbanLabs, and I want to say here that I would love to be involved. 

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Michel Bauwens yesterday and he couldn’t praise Citilab-Cornellà highly enough. I certainly got the impression that the place is not the typical council-funded project filled with bureaucrats and powered by enchufes, but a genuine place full of imagination, ideas and the willingness and creativity to put them into action – as an old cynic I’m bloody shocked. If you have the opportunity, go and check the place out for yourself, I’m hoping to be able to go back and spend more time there soon. 

As I had to leave early, I could ony participate in one session about Digital Education which was facilitated by Boris Mir. There were so many ideas and projects talked about that it would have taken weeks to discuss every pertinent point and it was hard to find a structure to encompass everything in the allotted time. As we found out at PodCamp Barcelona, it showed that there are many, many people out in the digital world trying to find the way to explore new avenues of communication and co-opereration and UrbanLabs has gone a long way towards finding a way to have that dialogue in both the “real” and digital worlds and demonstrates that for many of us, that separation is disappearing. 

Minerva magazine just publised an interview with and an essay by Michel Bauwens (in Spanish). 
Juan Freire blogged Urbanismo emergente: ideas para el grupo de trabajo de Urban Labs 08

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