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Open Knowledge and Sustainability at OKFestival

OKFestival The Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki this year will host between 18 and 21 September a topic stream on Open Knowledge and Sustainability, organised by the Centre for Sustainable Communications, the Greenhackathon, the Open Economics Working Group and Cleanweb London. James Cameron, founder and the non-executive Chairman of Climate Change Capital, will deliver the keynote presentation, speaking about “Open data systems: a collective response to a collective problem“. OKFestival

Open Knowledge and Energy Data

Tuesday – September 18, 11:30-13:00, Aalto PRO

A panel session to show examples of the value from opening data on a community level and the possibility to reduce energy consumption when sharing consumption levels with peers. As energy usage data is not open data, but personal data, we would need to revolutionise the ways we understand and manage personal data. Additionally, knowledge sharing and open data have crucial roles to play in increasing energy efficiency and developing cleaner energy sources. Information technology and the linking up of open datasets are therefore important tools in the low-carbon economy. SpeakersDenise Recheis, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), Karthikeya Acharya, Aalto University; Ken Dooley, Granlund consulting engineers, Helsinki; Thomas Thurner, Semantic Web Company (SWC), Open Knowledge Forum Austria (OKFO), Velichka Dimitrova, Open Knowledge Foundation, UK (moderator); William Heath,

Green Maps: Informing and Engaging Through Icons

Tuesday – September 18, 14:00-15:30, Aalto PRO

Helsinki Green Mapmakers and founder of Green Map System Wendy Brawer (US) welcome you to this session exploring iconography, mapping and community engagement. Around the world, hundreds of local Green Map projects are linked by an award-winning universal iconography that highlights sustainable living resources along with ecological, cultural and activism sites… In this presentation, we’ll show how this evolving iconography has been used to leverage participation in sustainable community development. We’ll involve you in the ongoing discussion regarding the newest icons to be added to the globally designed set. We’ll learn how to contribute to the Helsinki Green Map and share your perspectives on this remarkable city. And we’ll take a stroll round the Arabianranta area to experience first-hand the neighbourhood and its built and natural environment. Speakers: Cindy Kohtala – Helsinki Green Map; Wendy Brawer – Creator and Director of the Green Map System.

Future, Openness and Sustainability

Tuesday – September 18, 16:00-17:30, Aalto PRO 

Open knowledge can be used as a practical tool for moving towards sustainability. However, openness can also make an important contribution to sustainability from a philosophical and ethical perspective, a contribution not limited to digital resources. We will discuss ideas around what role open knowledge can play in a more sustainable future and why it is important to have openness as an ethical value for sustainability. In a series of short talks followed by a discussion, the speakers will consider the cleanweb, open seeds, open education resources, open source architecture and open economies. Speakers: Karthikeya Acharya – Aalto University, Finland, Chris Adams – AMEE, UK – @mrchrisadams, Hannes Ebner – KTH, Sweden – @electricbum, James Smith – Cleanweb, UK – @floppy, Jack Townsend – University of Southampton, UK – @JackTownsend_, Jorge Zapico – KTH, Sweden – @zapico

Open Data for Measuring Social Progress

Friday – September 21, 11:00-13:30, Hack Cinema

Is there more to progress than simply growing the economy? How can open knowledge help us to measure progress better? The measurement of social progress and human development has seen rapid advances fuelled by the growing availability of data and theoretical concepts that call for a wider definition of human development beyond conventional measures such as income or GDP. Academics and policymakers are relying increasingly on more sophisticated “composite indices” to compare the performance of cities, regions and countries. So far, however, the public has remained a passive “consumer” of such indices. This session explores how open data and collaborative approaches can help create new metrics, as well as improve existing metrics of well-being. Bringing together speakers from the cutting-edge of academia, policy and civil society, this session aims for a creative discussion about how technology and openness can help redefine the very concept of progress. SpeakersVincent Finat-Duclos – Statistical editor / OECD Better Life Index – @twitvfdDirk Heine – OKFN Open Economics / Core Team, Robin Houston – Developer of Guardian’s Rio+20 Better or Worse / – @robinhouston, Ulla Rosenström – Senior Adviser at the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, Guo Xu – OKFN Open Economics / London School of Economics and Political Science – @misologie (moderator).

Green Maps for Socially-inclusive Open Knowledge

Friday – September 21, 14:00-15:30, Hack Cinema

This session continues the Green Map discussion that began on Tuesday, with international Green Mapmakers as special guests. With so much information at our fingertips, how can a mapping process engage a fresh way of thinking about and interacting with the environment? The Green Map movement has spread to 825 cities and towns in 65 countries, including Helsinki ( The next phase of development is happening now: interoperability is being added, opening the data and platform to new collaborations and innovations. Bring your hacker spirit and find out how the process of Green Mapmaking can help increase passion for a healthy environment and climate in your community now, and how, though interoperability, OGM’s data will become open standards-compliant, allowing its locally-sourced and pre-existing government and community map data to be shared, mixed, layered, repurposed and analyzed in new ways. Ciprian Samoila and Philip Todres, Green Mapmakers from Romania and Cape Town, will join the conversation too, and together, we can demonstrate how Green Maps turn local information into global interaction. Speakers: Wendy Brawer – Creator and Director of the Green Map System, Cindy Kohtala – Helsinki Green Map, Arne Purves – City of Cape Town, South Africa, Ciprian Samoila – Asociatia Harta Verde Romania, Philip Todres – A & C Maps cc, Cape Town Green Map.

Green Hackathon

Wednesdat-Thursday – September 19-20, 11:30-19:00, Hack Workshop 3

The Open Knowledge and Sustainability Stream also includes the Green Hackathon .

Welcome to two days of hacking for openness and sustainability at the OKFestival in Helsinki. This is an opportunity to meet great developers and sustainability experts and to help out our planet with some innovative coding.

This event is part of the Green Hackathon series of events taking place across Europe and it will comprise two days of working hands-on to improve and disseminate sustainability data. It will begin with a short presentation on Wednesday morning (Sept. 19) and end with a Show-and-Tell of the results (Sept. 20).

The focus will be on opening up and improving existing sustainability data and improving existing applications.    

This topic stream is the team effort of:

  • Velichka Dimitrova – Open Knowledge Foundation, UK – @vndimitrova (Coordinator)
  • Jorge Zapico – Researcher at Centre for Sustainable Communications, KTH. Sweden – @zapico
  • Hannes Ebner – Researcher at Media Technology and Interaction Design, KTH. Sweden – @electricbum
  • Dirk Heine – Open Economics Core Team, UK
  • Guo Xu, Open Economics Core Team, UK – @misologie
  • Jack Townsend – University of Southampton, UK – @JackTownsend_
  • James Smith – Cleanweb, UK – @floppy
  • Chris Adams – AMEE UK – @mrchrisadams

More information about the Open Knowledge and Sustainability Stream:

More information about the Green Hackathon: and

Contact us: sustainability [at]

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