Future Directions for the USC

On Tuesday 8th October 2013 the members of the core team had a lengthy debate about how to evolve the USC.  Part of this concerns a possible 2014 meeting like the one held recently in London.  A basic consideration here is funding.  We have enough funding on hand to keep the webinar programme running (and improving – thanks Stan and Olga!).  But for a meeting we need to raise at least $20,000.  So we are looking for thoughts on sponsors.  We have in mind finding four or five sponsors who are willing to put up $5-10,000 each.  To some degree, we will also need to align the theme for a 2014 meeting with the possible sponsors.  So I and the other members of the core team would welcome your thinking on this.

A larger part of the discussion on Tuesday however was about how the USC should evolve its activities.  In 2010 we conceived the USC as a professional body providing a multi-professional forum for thinking and policy development on the rapidly evolving role of information flows in the design, planning, construction, administration, and operation of cities.  So this has tended to orient us towards civic and governmental organizations, as well as architects, property developers, and academics of various flavours.  Our programmes tend to be oriented towards learned discussions and our outputs tend to be aimed towards academics and policy makers.

However in an increasingly networked world, some of the core team would like to see the USC engaging more intensively in social media kinds of programmes with some emphasis on frequent (daily?) exchanges around a larger number of more detailed topics.  This could involve active presences on, say LinkedIn and Facebook, and other urban forums such as the World Cities Network.  An argument advanced in favour of this evolution is that sponsors may be more likely to put money into organizations that appear to have a large network.

The core team would like to hear your views on this topic.  Please Comment on this post.

Finally, we decided to move the weekly webinar session from Friday at 12:30-13:30 Eastern Time to Tuesday at 12:00-13:00 Eastern Time.  We have realized that the Friday time was very unattractive for UK and European members, who are more interested at that time in getting away for the weekend.  So we will begin with this new time on Tuesday 15th and there will be no webinar on Friday 11th.

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Regards, colin

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