Cities Without


Gabi Bila

Gabi Bila

Tuesday — Wednesday
October 1, 2019 —
October 2, 2019

This City Science Summit explores a future WITHOUT top-down and increasingly obsolete systems. 90% of 21st century urban growth is expected to happen in the vast shantytowns of informal settlements, or in cities with almost nonexistent or collapsing infrastructure . What if heavy infrastructure can be replaced WITH lightweight, distributed and ultimately autonomous systems? We will explore the possible convergence of two powerful forces:

1.     Extreme Urbanization.  By 2050, 68% of the population will be urban, which means that most of the global population growth, wealth creation, innovation, energy consumption, and CO2 generation will be concentrated in cities.  How cities develop over the next twenty years will largely determine our ability to address the grand societal challenges of our era, from climate change to public health.

2.     Ubiquitous Autonomous Systems.  While “smart city” technology can be useful, it is mostly focused on the optimization of existing legacy systems.  Emerging technology, however, promises to fundamentally transform nearly every aspect of how we live, work, learn, produce, move, and consume, and it requires not only technological improvements but also a huge change of the global mindset.

A diverse group of speakers and panelists will convene to discuss these new opportunities in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie followed by a day of workshops and conversations.  

In addition, Sir Norman Foster, Nicholas Negroponte, Gesa Ziemer and Kent Larson will discuss the "Power of WITHOUT" and how these ideas could improve the lives of the 3.5 billion humans projected to live in slums and informal settlements without access to conventional infrastructure.  A series of focused presentations and panel discussions will outline future possibilities for:

Mobility WITHOUT Cars

Sanitation WITHOUT Sewers

Energy WITHOUT Carbon


Medicine WITHOUT Doctors

Learning WITHOUT Schools

Symphonies WITHOUT Orchestras


Order WITHOUT Planning

Building WITHOUT Architects

Governance WITHOUT Bureaucrats



Economies WITHOUT Currency

Access WITHOUT Ownership

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