For those of you who were unable to attend this year's Futures Forum 2023 event, or would like to see it again, a recording of Bianca Wylie's keynote presentation "Public Engagement, Technology and the Art of Living Well Together" is now available on Youtube at the link below.
Public Engagement, Technology and the Art of Living Well Together
Bianca Wylie, Partner, Digital Public and Co-founder, Tech Reset Canada
The narrative focus of the last political century has been defined by rights – civil, to the city, digital, and more. To deliver on the opportunities that democracy affords us, the next century will need to focus as much energy, if not more, on responsibilities, the flip side of the rights coin. Through this effort, public institutions can expand and bloom. Without this effort, they will continue their decline. An increase in populist tactics is arriving from people all along the political spectrum, seeking to leverage this moment to hold onto power. The time for your resistance to this situation is now. Urban planning, as one of the professions focused on defining and supporting the ways we live together, has a significant role to play in the development of a more defensible practice of democracy at the local level, including defining if and how to use technology in these efforts. Technology often removes the necessary construct of geographic relations, which are vital to accountability. As such, planners, by statutory remit, must think about the next era of public engagement as one that opens doors to leverage and pull on the power(s) of the public to address wide scale inequities and historical wrongs. This conversation will focus on opportunities available to those working in urban planning in cities, in government, and in private practice and those currently studying planning, working in civic engagement and in technology design. The most important audience for these remarks, however, are the general publics - the heart, and the hope, of this proposition.