Digifest Profile: Linda Vlassenrood

Digifest x NOW Digital Residency

As part of this month’s Digifest x NOW Digital Residency, we’re profiling speakers and prominent thinkers associated with George Brown College’s Digifest festival (April 26-28, 2018). See all of the profiles here.

What do you do in your industry? 

I am an architecture historian and an independent curator, program manager, writer and consultant on architecture, urban planning and design. I curated a cultural program (2015-2017) entitled DATAstudio on data and the smart society in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut and the City of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The DATAstudio addressed the question of how we can build a smart society rather than just a smart city.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Digifest? 

I am looking forward to hear more about new ideas, projects and approaches on how we can improve cities through design, innovation and technology in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.

What does it mean to “future-proof” a city?

Building a smarter society isn’t just about making the city cleaner, safer and more efficient through technology – it’s also about making it a more social place: an inclusive community where residents are subjects, not objects, and collaborate with government, businesses, nonprofit organizations and knowledge institutions to come up with solutions for making the city better. 

Name one woman in the tech industry who inspires you.

Since I am an architecture historian, I am less familiar with the people in the tech industry. I therefore would like to mention Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), an Italian architect who moved to Brazil in 1946 and built several very inspirational projects including SESC Pompéia in São Paulo. She redesigned this former factory into a cultural centre with a library, theatre, restaurant, sports facilities and workspaces between 1977 and 1986. Lina Bo Bardi’s design really touches me because she took people serious in their needs and wishes. Her project is humble and a great gesture at the same time. This project really adds value to the city and its people. 

If you had to take a break from technology for one day, how would you spend that time? 

In that case, I would like to start the day with a long walk through the forest to clear my head and feel the sun, wind or rain on my skin. I would then visit one or two art museums for inspiration and just walk through the city in between to experience the hustle and bustle, and watch how people are moving around. Ideally, I would have dinner with some good friends and finish the day with them in a theatre or modern dance performance. 

Visit the Digifest x NOW Digital Residency

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