Future Cities Forum
February 23-24, 2018
Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa

Smart Leaders for Smart Cities

What will today’s cities look like with tomorrow’s technologies?

Our cities are facing a tremendous pace and scale of change, driven by rapid advances in ‘smart city’ technologies with limitless potential for disruption. But is ‘disruption’ necessarily a good thing? Who is included or excluded from the benefits of a smart city? Will algorithms eliminate or perpetuate bias, prejudice, and inequality? What will these disruptions mean for our economy, culture, and social fabric? And how will we respond and rise to the challenges it presents?

To ensure we are prepared for smart cities that will be increasingly powered, influenced, or controlled by algorithms, Artengine and Impact Hub Ottawa brought together young leaders from the technology, social impact, and creative sectors to explore and examine possible futures for our cities. We hosted the Future Cities Forum as an opportunity for knowledge exchange and relationship-building between these sectors, and to provoke critical inquiry about these possible futures.

Public Keynote Event

Friday February 23rd, 7:00-9:00pm

We partnered with the National Capital Commission Urbanism Lab to kick off the Future Cities Forum with a public event featuring three keynote talks by science-fiction writer and futurist Madeline Ashby, urban designer Ken Greenberg, and professor Tracey Lauriault, a researcher who specializes in big data and the city.

This diverse group shared their speculations on future cities in the context of emerging and disruptive technologies. How will and can we adapt the key lessons of urban design of the twentieth century and not be seduced by the same techno-utopianism that shaped cities in the past? As we are transformed and extended into the network, how will a citizen be in public or private in our new data-driven city? Who will be the heroes and anti-heroes of the cities to come?

Science fiction writer and futurist

Urban designer and advisor to Google’s Sidewalk Labs

Researcher and professor of critical media and big data

Youth leaders, students, young professionals

Saturday February 24th, 9:30am-6:30pm

We welcomed 60 youth leaders, students, and young professionals from the technology, social impact, and creative sectors – talented individuals who will be involved in shaping the future of our cities in the coming years and decades – who joined us for the second day of the Future Cities Forum. We were delighted to have talented young leaders join us from Ottawa, Montréal, and Toronto, with a range of expertise and experiences ranging from advocacy and law to architecture and public policy.

The second day was designed to be more a more engaging and hands-on experience to help equip participants with the knowledge, networks, and collective capacity to better understand the social and cultural implications of smart cities and their inevitable disruptions to the way we live, work, and play. We were joined by guest speakers from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and sectors to help us explore and examine possible futures for Canada’s cities.

Guest Speakers

Co-Founder, Tech Reset Canada

CEO, Advanced Symbolics

Economic Development Advisor, Smart and Digital Office, Ville de Montréal

Associate Director, Community Engagement, Center for Population Health Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine

Co-founder of designX at the MIT School of Architecture + Planning

Open Web Fellow, Ford Foundation/Mozilla Foundation

Director of Data - Merchant Services Algorithms at Shopify

Canada Research Chair in Information Law, University of Ottawa

About Us


Where technology comes to play

Artengine is a leader in Media Arts development in the Ottawa- Gatineau region. It is an artist-run media arts production and presentation centre that presents, promotes, and enables technologically-based artistic creation. Learn more at artengine.ca or @artengine.

Impact Hub Ottawa

Hubbers do good better

Part of a global network of over 100 locations around the world, Impact Hub Ottawa is a coworking community that inspires, connects, and enables purpose-driven individuals and organizations working to create meaningful change in the world. Learn more at hubottawa.org or @hubottawa.

Our Partners

Thank you to our partners and sponsors for helping us make this event possible.