Aral Balkan

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We Make the City: Opening Night

We Make The City stage

Last night, I was mostly positively surprised by the opening night of the We Make The City festival in Amsterdam. I was expecting a wholly neoliberal affair and it didn’t turn out that way.

Kate Raworth presenting

Finally got to see Kate Raworth, she of doughnut fame, and it did not disappoint.

After speaking at at least two conferences together, I finally got to see Kate Raworth present on Doughnut Economics (for the city). It was great to see her directly address the need to move from centralised to distributed/decentralised systems.

Kate Raworth presenting: slide: centralised vs distributed network topologies

We must from centralised to distributed/decentralised systems.

Slide: Extractive vs Generative mindset

We must move from an extractive to a generative mindset.

In a refreshing all-female line-up, the evening included mostly progressive discourse.


It was a refreshingly progressive affair for the most part.

Inexplicably, in the middle of this, we were presented by the CTO of Dubai in what I can only describe as a major whitewashing PR win for Dubai. Needless to say, there is nothing progressive about Dubai or the UAE. On stage, when asked about concerns about Big Brother-like surveillance, the CTO of Dubai responded with “We don’t call it Big Brother, we call it Fatherhood” to the sound of gasps from the audience.

Today, I am going to be taking part in the Next Generation Cities event as well as an evening event before returning to Ireland tomorrow.