Once on the ground, it's hard to imagine a more fitting municipality to host this years IxDA Interaction conference. Vancouver, BC is a city that's been punching above its weight for a while -- only a svelte 2.2 million or so in the metro area, it manages to feel much bigger, probably due to its densely packed high-rise downtown, exceptional ethnic diversity, or perhaps just the sci-fi swoosh of the newly minted SkyTrain transit system.
The interaction designers who've been descending on the city in the past couple of days share many of these attributes. They're here from across the globe, they're involved in some technologies and ideas so new they feel vaguely sci-fi, and their enthusiasm makes them feel like a much larger crowd than they actually are (400 or so this year).
Even as the papers scream of economic doom, the outlook here is relatively positive, lending support to the theory that IxD is one of the more recession-resistant fields in the creative economy. Initial workshops wrapped up yesterday, followed by a boisterous get together at a Gastown pub (above); main sessions start in earnest later this morning. For those interested in playing along, the conference schedule is here, and this exceptionally Twitter-happy crowd will be crowdsourcing coverage of much of the discussion -- follow hashtag #ixd09.