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Dirk Helbing - ETH Zurich

Given the on-going digital revolution and our present-day sustainability challenges, we have to reinvent the way cities and societies are operated. We propose that the requirement of organizing societies in a more resilient way implies the need for more decentralized solutions, based on digitally assisted self-organization, and that this concept is also compatible with sustainability requirements and stronger democratic participation. I am addressing the question, how could more participatory societies and cities work, and how can they meet the requirements of being more efficient, sustainable and resilient? What are their risks and benefits compared with centralized approaches? How could digital societies fitting our culture, for example, based on values such as freedom, equality and solidarity (liberté, égalité, fraternité) look like, and what performance can be expected from them? The project brings together two research directions: first, the automation of mobility solutions based on the Internet of Things and Machine Learning approaches, as they have been pursued within the “smart cities” paradigm and, second, novel collaborative approaches as they have been recently discussed under labels such as participatory resilience, digital democracy, City Olympics, open source urbanism, and the “socio-ecological finance system”.

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