Cities are the future of mankind, with 60% of the world population expected to live there by 2030. It doesn’t come without new challenges, such as the integration of new migrants, the management of more waste and water consumption, and a global competition between world top cities to attract innovative companies and entrepreneurs to create jobs for an always greater number of dwellers.

In these cities, makers could be the key to innovation, as local agents with expertise and community power to change things. This is, in a nutshell, the basis of Maker Cities, a project launched by the Institute For The Future (IFTF). While in Shenzhen for the Maker Faire, the team delighted us with a series of 11 short speeches from as many cities represented by one of their makers.

Makers from China, Beirut, New-York, Yogyakarta and more

Of course, you can’t expect Beirut to sound exactly the same than Kathmandu or Singapore, but still, it’s pretty interesting to compare how all these tech activists are organizing their communities and try to hack the city for the better.

So you will find here the review of ALL the speakers we’ve had the opportunity to listen to and discuss with in Shenzhen, representing, in addition to the above cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

Maker Cities: an open-source gamification platform to empower makers everywhere

maker cities iftf innovation is everywhere startups emerging markets makers martin pasquier

The concept of “making” is clearly an umbrella for a lot of different things. People talked about democracy, about immigrants mixing in urban areas, about creativity and arts. They also talked about data, life sciences and different generations, youths or the elderly.

If you want to know more about the project, just connect to, designed as an open-source platform where you can also push content about how your own city is a maker city in its own way, small or big, arty or techy, as we suspect that makers, maybe more than the usual software engineer, is one of the keys to reactivate participation in political and local life with a meaning.