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frog and the City

Accelerated innovation and adoption of ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and rich sources of data are changing how we live, work, and play in urban environments. Increasingly, a digital landscape overlays our physical world and is expanding to offer ever-richer experiences that augment—and in some cases, replace—the physical experience: “The city is the platform, the network, the sensors, and the interface,” as frog creative director Rob McIntosh put it in a recent talk.

The City is – once again – at the forefront of massive technological, cultural, and social transformation. Many metropolitan regions and infrastructure players have joined forces and announced ambitious projects, and the (pop-)cultural debate is zooming in on it: See Cisco’s strategic initiative with the city of Barcelona; Ericsson's film on “Thinking Cities;” or Gary Hustwit’s new documentary “Urbanized.” TED awarded its 2012 TED Prize to “The City 2.0” (for the first time it didn’t go to a person), and The Atlantic devotes an entire section to it.

It started as one of our “Centers of Passion,” and the City has now evolved into a broader initiative at frog that comprises of the following components:

- Envisioning the “Meta-City”

Check out frog chief creative officer Mark Rolston’s much gushed about “Building the Meta-City” talk at the PICNIC conference in Amsterdam and creative director Rob McIntosh’s presentation at Mobile World Congress. Moreover, the upcoming print issue of our design mind publication will feature an article by creative director Scott Nazarian on “Re-Thinking the City in the Digital Age.”

- Membership in the New Cities Foundation

frog last week joined the New Cities Foundation (NCF), a new global platform for innovation and exchange on the future of urbanization. Besides frog, NCF’s membership base includes GE, Cisco, Ericsson, Orange, GDF Suez, Citynove – Groupe Galeries Lafayette, the Ford Foundation, Metropolis, NYU, the SENSEable City Lab at MIT, CITRIS, HEC Paris, the Urban China Initiative, the Climate Group, and USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab. As part of our membership contribution, frog will run a 2-hour interactive session – titled “Navigating the Meta-City” – at the Foundation’s inaugural New Cities Summit in Paris on May 14-17. The Summit aims to be the leading annual global forum on 21st century urbanization. It brings together thought leaders in technology, infrastructure, architecture, energy, transport, national and local government, the media, academia, and the non-profit sector from all regions of the world. In addition to the working session, we will also produce a special online feature on design mind about “Cities” and the Summit.

- Collaboration with AMO

AMO is the think tank of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), one of the world’s leading architectural firms, founded by Dutch star architect Rem Koolhaas. A frog team met with AMO last Fall and engaged in an all-day debate on the future of cities. Following the session, AMO has invited us to visit and speak at the Strelko Institute of Media, Architecture, and Design in Moscow (where Koolhaas and AMO teach) in May.

[image credit: ionphoton.com]

Tim Leberecht is the CMO of frog and the publisher of design mind.