2050 Emergent: A spark of the future of our city

One of our program highlights this year was 2050 Emergent, a free expo of the innovative technologies and the new ideas that are already shaping our city.

The all-day event supported by the City of Sydney took place at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 19 October. By opening it to the general public, we were seeking to make a wealth of initiatives happening in and around Sydney accessible to the community.

2050 Emergent

Near 500 people visited Sydney Lower Town Hall during the 5 hours of innovation display


SparkFest team

The Spark Festival team worked along with local volunteers to run a day of tech showcase for families

2050 Emergent showcased more than 30 startups, and featured displays, lightning talks and workshops on topics such as green cities, alternative housing models and the sharing economy. It also included two interactive tours of the Museum of Futures: a fascinating project that allowed visitors to explore the futures that we are creating. 

Museum of Futures

The Museum of Futures engaged visitors with objects that tell of two possible futures: utopian or dystopian


One of our core objectives here at Spark Festival is to make sure that anyone who is interested in technology and the new digital economy feels welcome, sees an opportunity to find out more, and gets involved. The ideas and technology that will shape our reality in 2050 are already emerging now and attracting a lot of interest, but can also seem a bit intimidating to the uninitiated.

So 2050 Emergent was about taking those ideas hidden away in labs and innovation hubs and inviting to interaction and feedback from the everyday people interested in how technology will shape the way we live, work and play in this city over the next 30 years.


Kids and accesibility were also topics on the spotlight in the exhibition space


What do you think is it going to be like to live in Sydney in 2050? As much as the Blade Runner-esque or even Matrix-dystopic future is always there, perhaps we will find ourselves in a lively low-carbon city bristling with affordable green buildings and exciting entertainment precincts, all connected up with smooth and efficient public transport. 

That’s at least the bright promising future we saw through the startups showcasing on that day. With indoor hydroponic farms by InvertiGro, Urban Plant Growers and Blakthumb, with more recycling ways for the digital generation with Charopy, RecycleSmart and Wave Changer, and with consumer apps to start taking actions on climate change now like Green Wallet, IndigiLab and WWF Panda Labs.

Urban Plant Growers

The ultimate way to food security: Your very own indoor grow kit



Vertical and hydroponic farming are becoming valid options to growing food in small spaces



Rethinking recycling enables the next generation to take much better care of the environment than us


The event was also an opportunity to learn about solving community problems by making data accessible and safe with Seer and Compass IoT, designing of urban spaces to help solving social issues with Vigilanti, enabling a more meaningful way of doing democracy with Plott and KJA, and learning to plan the future of our city through design thinking with Flatiron School


The lightning talks throughout the day engaged the community in re-imagining the way we use technology in the city



The workshops gave opportunity to attendees to think out of the box and work in sustainable solutions for the future Sydney


Technologies and services from immersifAI, Nourish Cup, Sameview and Peepsride showed us that there are already solutions available now to change the way we live and work and that will have a direct impact in our health and wellbeing in the next few years. 


Local startups are using AR/VR simulations and AI solutions to help healthcare professionals



For sure the experience gave us a lot to think about the future Sydney. But since NOW is the time for action, we are watching this space to keep learning about the fascinating projects that are being developed, and getting ready to support the exciting technologies that will make Sydney an even more liveable place in the world.


See more photos here.

See some ideas of the day pitched in 10 seconds.  

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