Survey | The Mobile City Conference 2008

Dear participants,

Thank you very much for submitting your feedback about the conference to the organization. The aims of this evaluation are:

  • Useful to hear the voice and opinion of participants.
  • To learn from this as organizers.
  • To be able to give balanced feedback to our sponsors and host.
  • To assess whether The Mobile City conference deserves a follow-up in the future, in whatever way.

===================
Executive summary of the results:

Some 39 people have given feedback about the conference. Overall, the feedback has been mainly positive. The conference received an average rating of 7.3 (on a scale of 1-10).

++ Rated positively:
* Great speakers.
* Good organization.
* Inspiring and mixed crowd.
* Conference website.

– – Rated negatively:
* Catering (too slow).
* Too little networking opportunities.
* Lack of topical focus, especially in the discussion panel.
* More room for criticism of technological developments.

===================

Results of the survey The Mobile City conference 27 – 28 Feb. 2008 NAi Rotterdam.

1. Your background

Field of work

* academia = 14
* design = 3
* media/ICT = 2
* architecture/urbanism = 2
* business = 2
* cultural field (museum/curator/events) = 6
* art (media) = 4
* communication = 2

Country
Respondents from Netherlands: 26
Respondents from elsewhere: 11
Unknown: 1

2. General

The conference inspired me and provided me with new knowledge on issues relevant to
my work.

result: 7.5 (37 responses)

The conference has enlarged my network of people and organizations that are relevant to my work.
result: 5.4 (37 responses)

The conference contributed to the public debate on locative & mobile media and urban culture and identity.
result: 6.9 (37 responses)

3. Practical

General conference organization (e.g. contact with organization, availability of information).
result: 8.3 (38 responses)

Registration and information at the conference venue.
result: 8.1 (38 responses)

The conference website.
result: 7.6 (38 responses)

Conference venue.
result: 7.8 (38 responses)

Catering.
result: 7.1 (38 responses)

Internet facilities.
result: 6.1 (31 responses)

4. Content

Moderation of the day by Martijn de Waal & Michiel de Lange
result: 7.9 (39 responses)

Introductions by director of Netherlands Architecture Institute Ole Bouman
result: 6.6 (34 responses)

Key note by Malcolm McCullough
result: 7.8 (35 responses)

Key note by Christian Nold
result: 8.1 (38 responses)

Key note by Tim Cresswell
result: 6.7 (37 responses)

Key note by Stephen Graham
result: 8.8 (25 responses)

10 Minute project presentations
result: 7.2 (38 responses)

Discussion Panel with Nicolas Nova, Rob van Kranenburg, Marc Schuilenburg, and Joris van Hoytema.
result: 7.0 (34 responses)

(if applicable) Workshop 1 “New Media and Urban Culture” on Feb. 27
result: 7.5 (8 responses)

(if applicable) Workshop 2 “Mobile Media, Mobility and Identity” on Feb. 27
result: 6.8 (4 responses)

5. What did we do well?

A lot, the organization did a good job on making a balanced but differentiated program
of speakers.

The overall initiative in the first place; great speakers for a first time, good organisation.

Zeer interessant aanbod van sprekers bij elkaar gebracht, goede informatie op website (vooraf en achteraf).

The organisation was great, communication while preparing the workshop was quick and professional. The venue, catering, moderation etc. was very professional, I felt welcome (That’s great!).

Diverse speakers, venue.

Gather a great crowd (speakers + audience), foster good discussions that made the field move forward. And Rotterdam was a perfect choice!

Arrange a visionary speaker lineup.

Set up of the conference was very good. Combination of large presentation, followed by the short ones, worked very well I think. Very good conference, very well organised.

Generally everything but in particular choice of keynote speakers, conference organisation, website.

A very interesting conference with good speakers. Involving art so much.

Great overview of the field with interesting keynotes nicely packed in one day.

Good atmosphere, location, catering, amount of guests (nice and small, but enough). Good programme with famous keynote speakers. Introduce images by round table conversation. it’s new! Good programme: lecture, then some short presentations, then brake.

In my present job I am a practitioner looking for inspiration and collaboration. So actually the project presentations and the networking is what I can use most of. The more academic stuff is also interesting (and might be very useful if I one day decide to do a ph.d) but right now less directly usable for me.

Jullie hebben zeer interessante sprekers uitgenodigd. Helaas kon ik s’avonds niet bij Stephan Graham aanwezig zijn. Verder vind ik het erg knap hoe jullie (vrijwel) op schema hebben kunnen blijven.

Mix people from different professions and giving enough possibilities for all to put their ideas forward.

Diverse speakers, various perspectives and work on locative media, good, intense yet
relaxed feel in the conference.

I only attended the day-program on 28/02, so I can only comment about that part of the conference:
– There was a very interesting mix of key-note speakers and project presentations. But also of the people attending the conference. Overall there was a good “”vibe””.
– I liked that it was kind of small-scale, so you could easily get in contact with other people, sitting together during lunch, discussing your own work, the conference etc.
– The longer presentation by key-note speakers followed up by short project presentations was a very good combination.

Voicing various perspectives; Exploring possibilities in theory and practice; Appealing
to the imagination; Space for criticism and critical debate; Nice atmosphere.

Great moderation, great organization; We had a good debate in the discussion panel;
Stephen graham keynote was great!

Inspiring and well designed program.

Ik kan mij beter in het Nederlands uitdrukken, dus vandaar mijn mening in het Nederlands. Ik vond de organisatie heel goed. Er werden hele leuke introducties gehouden. Wat ik ook heel goed vond is de website. De website werkt overtuigend (zoals korte bespreking over achtergronden van de sprekers).

Almost everything.

The contect, in all diversity, was very inspiring. Food for thought.

Put a new theme on the research agenda.

Organisation and catering.

Choosing the venue! It is very import, especially of traditional fields like architecture, to get involved in ‘locative media’. Also, the keynote speakers were chosen wisely, with different viewpoints on the matter.

A good selection of key note speakers.

It was a very good idea to organise a project around the consequences of mobile
technology on the urban life. Especially from an architectural perspective, but also from a citizen point of view is awareness of these consequences quite interesting to realise
and to accept the opportunities.

6. What could we have done better?

Personally, i missed the critique on this ongoing belief in the benefits of technology.
There was critique, but it would be interesting to get a speaker or speakers who can give an interesting critical viewpoint .

I will wait and see the follow-up , also on the website; do not leave it at this.

The long queue for lunch on thursday… There was quite a good coverage of research
and academical projects concerning urban life and “”new media””. I was missing presentations concerning the “”production”” of the city (architecture, urban planning,
landscape architecture).

Paneldiscussion shouldn’t start with a slide of each panelmember. They tend to put only their own viewpoint forward, like in a presentation (no interaction initially). Perhaps it was better to start of with a claim (“stelling”)

We should perhaps have discuss more before our panel as there were different
levels of discussions and it was sometimes difficult (for panelists and the audience) to go from one level to another.

Get the overall level of the speakers to be a bit more in sync with eachother. Some were really high level, some not so much. Also, the benches were a bit hard. You could’ve scrapped a few speakers and put the rest in a midday-session. it sure was a long haul.

Besides the content, a very important reason to come to a conference is to network. So
next time, please add to the badges from which organisation people are and hand
out a list of participants. Catering was ok, but the line for the lunch to long, but not a big issue.

The workshop felt unresolved. perhaps they should have been the day after the conference as issues brought up during it could have then been discussed in more depth.

Getting conference go-ers communicating with each other. The tone of the contributions
was extremely hopeful. Locative media do have another side too (commerce, surveillance,
an-aesthetics).

The community feeling before and during the website: to be able to put input in on beforehand on the website, create a network, etc.

Round table discussion, but I don’t like the concept anyway.

The panel discussion was a bit unfocused. Food hand-out was too slow.

Dit is meer een opmerking m.b.t de lokatie, naar mijn weten was er weinig stroomvoorziening (om laptops te voorzien). Wat mij betreft zou een volgende keer ook een geheel conferentie-weekend mogen zijn 😉

Giving printed background information about the lectures (printed powerpoint or acommpanied text of the lecture). A final statement in text format for all partitipants.

30 in more or 2-3 queue lines for lunch maybe? 😉

I think you didn’t really expect there would be that many people attending, so my
negative comments are of the practical kind:

1. A bigger auditorium (it was kind of crowded)
2. Better organized registration desk
3. Better organized lunch. Because of the long queue, those at the end of it, had very little time for their lunch.

Balance of male – female speakers (stronger female participation); Historical connection with other media + architecture(whole field of ‘locative cinema’ i.e. film and space); Linking content of media to space rather than ideas on media (technology) and space; Lists of key references.

I would appreciate much more critique during the conference and less technological utopism; Really too long line at the catering at lunch; The internet connection refuse to connect to Gmail.

Bigger space, more people, more communication, more press, more side events.

Misschien zou het geheel iets meer de nadruk moeten krijgen op een breder publiek. Ik
begrijp dat het een conferentie is, maar het zou nog leuker zijn als de discussies meer op een wat simpelere manier zouden gaan.

We had to wait for soooo long to get lunch.

Catering. Slow proces during lunch; Networking facilities – company names, internet
possibilities to match on intererst before and after.

Workshops in small groups might be a nice change, then everybody might have a bit more
chance for networking and participation in the discussion. Although there were workshops on the first day, participation was limited, I think that’s a pity.

Contacts and networking lists.

On a practical level: Internet! Internet! And power. It is very important to realize that there is an audience outside the conference room. I always try to provide live-coverage via the Mastersofmedia blog, which gets read by many. It is really annoying that a) laptops have such a crappy battery time and b) that there is no stable internet connection and/or power supplies at conferences. (sorry to say your conference was no exception).
On a theoretical level I maybe expected a keynote speaker on the development side
of locative media. How is it done? What kind apps are out-there and successful? Maybe somebody from Nokia? What are they thinking about locative-media wise?”

Registration for the workshops. It wasn’t obvious that the participants need to register
separately for the workshop.

A more strict approach would give the conference more insight in aspects of the mobile city. I found the scope of the conference too broad. So I would recommend to pick one specific aspect like architecture or location based computing and give concrete cases with a theoretical background.

7. Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?

No 0
Yearly 18
Bi-annual 11
Maybe one more time 10

graph follow up

8. Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition
of The Mobile City?

A lunch break of a half hour is really wishful thinking. Hence, there is room for improvement regarding this issue in particular as well as the logistics of the conference in the main.

See question 6. And maybe give a little bit more attention to the conference-design…;). Mobile phones as a metaphor for mobile-city is recognizable but maybe cliche, to be honest.

It was now much focused on the mobile city; there are also I believe more relevant areas such as the home (whatever you would call that) and/or our immediate surroundings.

I think it could be interesting to hear from architects, urban planners, people from the administration of cities if and how it is possible to react to a changing urban culture.

More ways of getting into contact with other visitors. Mediamatic had some nice tools/idea’s for this!

More workshops! Also interaction project presentations can be good (with demos). Finally something like a city tour/discussion could be pertinent as well.

– Better seats.
– Higher intensity (shorter timespan, max timeslot 20 minutes).

Not really, besides my marks on the list of participants, I enjoyed the conference a lot. I think for a conference on this issue, you should be able to connect people (participants) in an innovative way. (Willem Velthoven’s tool maybe).

As was brought up in the pannel discussion the project presentations were all ‘accepting’ of technologies. Whereas the keynote speakers did touch on the political aspects, the project presentations were mostly non political and uncritical. For this reason there seemed to be a very large gap between the agendas of keynote speakers and project presentations. Perhaps in the future there should also be less project presentations but give the ones who do present longer than 10 mins so that they can go into the works more in depth and allow for questions and answers.

Discussion groups, make use of the fact that there was very different expertise in the room, get these people to discuss issues together.

Keep up inviting interesting speakers and create a network online with interestees.

Find a way to attract more people from different disciplines. Get to know each other by doing projects/ games outside the lecture-room. Go into the city! More workshops, short duration and in the weekends.

Maybe think more about how the program can be relevant for both academics and practitioners – at least if you wish to attract both groups again.

Try to get some of the projects in real life at the conference.

Rather I’d say what I’d like to see continue and that’s the academic+practitioner+artist-mix. In some conferences I’ve been to it hasn’t worked but made the spectrum of interests too broad and diluted discussion. Here it worked well. Perhaps because the no. of conference visitors was limited, making it easier to focus discussions; because of excellent moderating; and perhaps because the topic was suitable for the mix of perspectives as it’s such a new area.

I think the interactive parts of the conference can be extended next time. Round table discussion was really interesting because it helped to underline the importance of critical way of thinking. It can also be very interesting if next time keynote speakers can also be a part of the round table discussions. Project representations can also be extended with small exhibitions.

Some suggestions from the presentations put in practice, to experience it oneself – things related to GPS tracking, tagging, personal profiles exchange etc.

It would be better to plan it on more days.

Check the past Doors of Perception conferences for approach and venues. Come to Eindhoven next year, collaborate with Philips Research.

It was a full program – full with interesting thoughts and projects. Would like to have an overview on line with papers delivered, projects presented and links for more info. To help remember all that was of interest. Maybe a bit more air during the day to discuss and digest all the information would be nice.

Yes, make it interactive. Do something with the invitation/way to get there via locative media or something in that direction. Show what locative media is, or can be. Something like this really makes the conference (even more) alive.

Perhaps involve influential architects and urban designers in the debate.

Like I said before, choose one specific aspect and make that the theme of the conference. It’s more clear what to expect and I think more insightful than a broad scope with presentations that only slightly touch the subject Mobile City.

9. May we publish your answers online?

Anonymous 26
Name 9
No 4

graph answers

Qualitative remarks by name:

Martin Zebracki
Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Maybe one more time

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

A lunch break of a half hour is really wishful thinking. Hence, there is room for
improvement regarding this issue in particular as well as the logistics of the
conference in the main.

Martin Pot
What did we do well?
the overall initiative in the first place; great speakers for a first time, good organization.

What could we have done better?
I will wait and see the follow-up , also on the website; do not leave it at this.

Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Yearly

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

It was now much focused on the mobile city; there are also I believe more relevant areas such as the home (whatever you would call that) and/or our immediate surroundings.

Rune H. Jensen
What did we do well?
In my present job I am a practitioner looking for inspiration and collaboration. So actually the project presentations and the networking is what I can use most of. The more academic stuff is also interesting (and might be very useful if I one day decide to do a ph.d) but right now less directly usable for me.

What could we have done better?
The panel discussion was a bit unfocused.
Food hand-out was too slow.

Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Maybe one more time

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of The Mobile City?
Maybe think more about how the program can be relevant for both academics and practitioners – at least if you wish to attract both groups again.

Janine Toussaint
What did we do well?
Mix people from different professions and giving enough possibilities for all to put their ideas forward.

What could we have done better?
Giving printed background information about the lectures (printed powerpoint or accompanied text of the lecture). A final statement in text format for all participants.

Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Yearly

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

Try to get some of the projects in real life at the conference.

Ahu Sokmenoglu
Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Yearly

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

I think the interactive parts of the conference can be extended next time. Round table discussion was really interesting because it helped to underline the importance of critical way of thinking. It can also be very interesting if next time keynote speakers can also be a part of the round table discussions. Project representations can also be extended with small exhibitions.

René Paré
What did we do well?
inspiring and well designed program.

What could we have done better?
Bigger space, more people, more communication, more press, more side events.

Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Yearly

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

check the past Doors of Perception conferences for approach and venues.
come to Eindhoven next year, collaborate with Philips Research.

Tjerk Timan
What did we do well?
Choosing the venue! It is very import, especially of traditional fields like architecture, to get involved in ‘locative media’.
Also, the keynote speakers were chosen wisely, with different viewpoints on the
matter.

What could we have done better?
On a practical level: Internet! Internet! And power. It is very important to realize that there is an audience outside the conference room. I always try to provide live-coverage via the Mastersofmedia blog, which gets read by many. It is really annoying that a) laptops have such a crappy battery time and b) that there is no stable internet connection and/or power supplies at conferences. (sorry to say your conference was no exception)
On a theoretical level I maybe expected a keynote speaker on the development side of locative media. How is it done? What kind apps are out-there and successful? Maybe somebody from Nokia? What are they thinking about locative-media wise?

Do you think this event deserves a follow-up edition?
Yearly

Do you have any suggestions how we could improve a possible following edition of
The Mobile City?

Yes, make it interactive. Do something with the invitation/way to get there via locative media or something in that direction. Show what locative media is, or can be. Something like this really makes the conference (even more) alive.