New Soft City

Session Title

New Soft City


Dan Hill

Session Type: Keynote

The way the street feels may soon be defined by the invisible and inaudible. Cities are being laced with sensors, which in turn generate urban informatics experiences, imbuing physical space with real-time behavioural data. The urban fabric itself can become reflexive and responsive to some extent, and there are numerous implications for the design and experience of cities as a result.

Multi-sensory interaction design merges with architecture, planning and an urbanism informed by the gentle ambient drizzle of everyday data. Drawing from projects in Sydney, Masdar, Helsinki, Seoul and elsewhere, I’ll explore the opportunities implicit in this new soft city – how we might once again enable a city alive to the touch of its citizens – and what this means for an urban interaction design.


Dan Hill is a designer and urbanist. He’s been working at the forefront of interaction design since the early ‘90s and is responsible for shaping many innovative, popular and critically acclaimed products and services. He is currently a senior consultant at Arup in Sydney.

As Head of Interactive Technology & Design at the BBC in London, he led design across their award-winning websites as well as conducting significant strategic work, re-thinking the organisation for the on-demand age. He co-founded the global media product Monocle, and is one of the organisers of the acclaimed architecture and urbanism event Postopolis!, running in New York and Los Angeles. He also writes City of Sound, generally thought of as one of the leading architecture and urbanism websites.

For Arup, Dan is exploring the possibilities of urban informatics from a creative, design-led perspective, re-thinking how real-time information networks change streets and cities, neighbourhoods and organisations, mobility and work, play and public space. He works on major urban development projects worldwide.