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Last week marked the beginning of eco2FEST, a three-week journey to explore new forms of economy, sustainable open-source design, and more. Organized around nine themes, eco2FEST highlighted Mobility and Collaborative Economy as the first themes of the week.

Mobility

eco2FEST was aptly jumpstarted with the first theme, Mobility. Progress has always traveled on the
back of our ability to transfer ideas, resources, and people over great distances in the shortest amount
of time possible. The need for this ability to be efficient has become more pronounced in the growing
urbanization of society.

As ecosystems of urban jungles continue to spread, mobility is what will preserve their delicate balance and keep them thriving. Without mobility as the primary consideration in infrastructure design, cities run the risk of a drawn-out but inevitable decay.

It’s a well-recognized issue and many cities throughout the world have ventured ahead with innovative models of mobility. Take Barcelona and the Bicing program, for instance; London and its GATEway project; or Guangzhou’s Bus Rapid Transit system.

And we can do the same here. Montreal is the ideal city for mobility innovation and it’s evident when
the city hosted the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress last year. The world came to us last year and this year, we’re demonstrating through eco2FEST that we’re ready to bring our ingenuity to the world.

The official launch of eco2FEST last week inspired a lot of frank discussions about the future of mobility in Montreal. Mobility entrepreneurs like Eva Coop and OuiHop’ met with local residents as well as citizen groups like Trainsparence. Together, this open forum invited everyone to give their input on major mobility issues such as the “last mile” problem, bike-integration solutions, and even specific issues such as mobility challenges in Verdun.

It is a promising start to eco2FEST. Jean-François Parenteau, the Mayor of Verdun, mentioned at the
eco2FEST press conference last Tuesday that he and his elected officials wanted the borough to shine
when it comes to a collaborative economy. It captured the intent of eco2FEST perfectly. This is our moment to take the lead by getting the private and public sectors together to collaborate on inclusive solutions that improve the day-to-day lives of everyone.


Collaborative Economy

As the conversation moved from Mobility to the second theme, Collaborative Economy, the ideas continued to flow. Although the participants in the workshops and roundtables were from different backgrounds, they all found common ground with these two statements:


  1. Access to resources can be very difficult for individuals; collaborative workspaces can meet this requirement as well as create opportunities and accessibility for entrepreneurs;
  2. Collaborative economy adds social and economic benefits within society.


Moreover, certain words came up again and again that showed how strongly they resonated with
everyone: inclusionparticipateequitygrowth, and empowerment. All these are values that a
collaborative economy strives toward.

It means less constraints from a traditional workplace and less emphasis on profit before all else. It
means more innovation and ecological results driven for and by the community. Above all, it means
genuine collaboration that goes beyond the family unit and reaches every facet of society.

What’s striking about the first week at eco2FEST was how deeply engaged all the participants were in the discussions that took place. Everyone had something of value to contribute and it’s all these ideas in aggregate that will make a difference as we co-build the society of tomorrow.

All this came out of just the first week. Imagine what we can accomplish next. Find out what’s
happening this week at eco2FEST on our schedule and participate!

What really spoke to you during the first week of eco2FEST? What would you like to see done differently in the upcoming workshops and conferences?

Winluck Wong is a freelance writer helping companies grow their businesses through blogging, web content writing, copywriting, and social media management. He gets excited about an eclectic mix of topics from business strategies and sustainable development to personal finance and life hacks. Follow his cheeky musings on Twitter and imagine how he can fit in your story on his website.

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