The IFTF Blog
Imagine the Future of Cities at our Open Cities Conference + Festival
Over the next decade and beyond, cities will continue to capture the imaginations of people around the globe—drawing in nearly a billion new urban dwellers to cities and spurring the largest and fastest reinvention of our built environment in human history. As cities grow, traditional top-down approaches will be insufficient to meet the basic needs of citizens or fulfill their aspirations. Already, citizens and makers stepping in to fill this gap, leveraging emerging technologies to remake the stuff, services, and systems of urban life itself.
For the last year and a half, our Technology Horizons program immersed in the maker cultures of cities around the world, learning how this convergence of urban challenges, the maker mindset, and new technologies is enabling cities from Shenzhen to San Francisco to harness civic participation and market forces to address the needs of urban citizens. Characterized by shareability, equity, participation, imagination and adaptability, these Open Cities are transforming our expectations and experiences of what life in cities can be.
On October 2-4, we are hosting a three-day event, Open Cities: How the Maker Mindset is Reinventing Urban Life, rooted in the findings and insights from this research. Together, we will explore the technologies, communities, and values of Open Cities, and the systems, information, and people that will make them.
Day 1: The sponsor-only first day of the event consists of a series of immersions—tours of San Francisco designed to give you first-hand insight into how makers are reinventing urban systems all around us.
Day 2: The second day, also sponsor-only, features a series of talks by IFTF researchers and visionaries creating Open Cities around the world today, as well as group activities, to help you anticipate future possibilities and meet the most pressing urban challenges facing your city.
Day 3: The final day of the event is the Open City/Art City Festival, an interactive gathering for everyone who wants to imagine the future of the city and make it together. It’s a free and open-to-the-public day of talks, art, exhibits, performances, and more, in partnership with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Over the course of the three days, attendees will meet and hear from a number of thinkers, makers, activists, and entrepreneurs creating Open Cities today:
- Ben Bateman (@gilbetrar), Associate Director of Design & Technology, Indiegogo
- Rose Broome (@rosical), CEO & Co-Founder, HandUp
- Emily Castor (@emilycastor), Director of Community Relations, Lyft
- Rodrigo Davies (@rodrigodavies), Doctoral Researcher, Stanford University
- Erik Davis (@erik_davis), Author of Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information
- Mark Hatch (@MarkHatch), CEO & Co-Founder, TechShop
- Nick Pinkston (@NickPinkston), Founder, Plethora
- Richard Price, President, Pulse Point
- April Rinne (@aprilrinne), Chief Strategy Officer, Collaborative Lab
- Jase Wilson (@luminopolis), CEO Neighbor.ly
- Mike Zuckerman (@theotherzuck), Co-Founder, Freespace
- …and more
Even if you won't be joining us in person, you can participate online by following @IFTF and #OpenCities2025. We're excited about the new research we're presenting at the conference and hope you'll follow along!
How to Attend
- For more about attending the first two days of the event, please contact Sean Ness (email@example.com or 650-233-9517).
- To RSVP for the public festival, visit the festival website.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@iftf and #opencities2025)
- For more information about IFTF's Open Cities Conference and research, contact Sean Ness (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- For more about the Open City/Art City Festival, contact Neela Lazkani (email@example.com)
- For more information about YBCA, contact Lauryn Porte (firstname.lastname@example.org).