WBC 16 Update #2: Travel Ends, Conference Begins

So far as I can tell, Finland is composed entirely of the outlines of evergreen trees illuminated by the blush of their summer never-quite-night sky. At least, that is all I could see through the windows of the bus I took from Vantaa airport to Tampere, departing at 1:40am. Time, though, as measured by clocks, seems to have grown less relevant on this long travel day. Occasionally a fog laden meadow adds some relief. I'm sure the light of day will reveal a richly three dimensional country but, for now, my sleep deprived mind sees only elaborate parallel planes. 4:15am brings me to Tampere, a short walk to the hotel and I'm down for a quick nap. Back up at 6:30am, walk up to Tampere Hall, an interesting complex that bills itself as Scandinavia's largest concert and congress hall. That must mean there are larger concert halls and larger congress halls, but not in such a combination. I had a chance to make a lap of the facility and was drawn to the adjacent park by the call of roosters. They have a very nice set of chicken coops there for some reason. Most signs are in Finnish, Swedish and English, but not those for the chickens. Their purpose will remain a mystery for now.

Tampere Hall

Google Translate falls short

After introductory remarks, Dongping Fang of Tsinghua University in Beijing gave an interesting keynote on the very ambitious efforts their newly founded IFCI has to forge a comprehensive systems-based view of urban resilience. He was followed by an fascinating take from Matti Kokkala of VTT on the how market dynamics of the technology industry could change the built environment. His specific examples were Airbnb for car parking and "drone" construction cranes, both of which seemed completely inevitable as soon has he articulated the ideas.

A short break on I was on stage in the Small Auditorium to deliver my presentation. As everyone was coming back from getting coffee, I thought it would be lightly attended. Having your conference at a concert hall had one interesting side effect. They used the intermission chimes to signal the beginning of sessions. It worked well as a healthy group showed up right as I started. I think things went well and I fielded a couple questions afterward. It's always hard to know how a talk like that goes if you don't have a confederate in the audience. I was glad to be done early in the week and happy to have some thoughtful questions. At the end of our session, a few of us proceeded to lunch. I had to excuse myself for what I hope you will agree is a well earned siesta.