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Hybrid City conference, Athens

How does it feel to walk into a new city, and the first thing you see is an urban intervention in a street, with a street lit using household lamps ? Feels quite awesome, let me tell you. Here’s the one I am referring to : Bright Intervention Spices up Shady Street in Athens

That, coupled with an endearingly chaotic city and ruins from millenia ago, made Athens a great venue for the second edition of the conference “Hybrid City : Subtle Revolutions”. The conference was held at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, from 23-25 September 2013.

Annika Kuyper and me presented a paper on “Blending Reality : An interactive platform to explore the city through space and time”, at this conference. This paper is based on the project we worked on at the mediaLab the previous semster. The paper was based on research done as a part of the project, along with the methods used, design considerations made, findings and future possibilities of the project. The paper provided a practical viewpoint on the discussion on the increasingly hybrid nature of cities, and how information and exploration can be achieved more effectively by a solution that is distributed between the real and virtual city.The paper was received well, and some very probing questions were raised that will help the project get better direction going forward.

There was quite an impressive line-up of paper presentations and keynote speeches, and some amazing discussions. From talks about “Senseable cities” that used sensors to track urban elements like garbage disposal, carbon footprints, community activities to open-data initiative to map cities, from use of media for political propaganda to approaches for creating virtual environments, and from studies of how cities can be perceived virtually to hacking networks and technology and the privacy and ownership issues associated with their use, many enlightening discussions were had over many a cup of coffee.

We hope to start meaningful collaborations and discussions, and come up with even better projects. The visit to Athens was an absolute pleasure. With such a hustling , beautiful yet ancient city, this was meant to be !