Becoming an URBAN-Xer.
By Felix Keser
With about 55% of the world’s population living in urban settlements in 2017, cities represent 90% of population growth, 80% of global CO2 emissions and 75% of global energy use. Finding innovative urban solutions is more crucial than ever. These were the numbers I had in mind when I stepped in the URBAN-X office in Greenpoint in early June.
Walking through the A/D/O co-working space, I was quickly overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement and positivity as I saw creators of all backgrounds, ages and nationalities rolling up their sleeves and turning ideas into action. This feeling intensified as I stepped in the accelerator’s space: coders were working on the newest version of their ride-hailing software, the WearWorks team enthusiastically showing their latest prototype to Johan Schwind – the in-house product designer – and the Upcycles team was cycling around the room, testing the brakes in front of the massive X neon sign that illuminated the entire room.
Bringing together innovators and entrepreneurs who work on solving pressing issues, URBAN-X constantly contributes to building a more engaged and interactive community in the process of making cities more livable. The startups make everyone an integral part of the solution and, as a result, more positive about the future. The scarcest resource for cities is not money – as many people might think – but coordination. That’s exactly what URBAN-X excels at.
As a policy-maker in the making, this mentality will help me remember that every problem has a wide range of solutions that can be reached through fostering an open and creative environment, where ideas can be put to the test. It opened up my eyes to the power of public-private partnerships and I am strongly convinced that solving the twenty-first century’s problems necessitates the rich diversity of skills, backgrounds and knowledge.
Over the summer, Felix worked closely with the URBAN-X team to conduct an extensive market research of the second cohort’s startups and their ecosystems. Felix is currently completing his Masters of Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics.