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The Programmable City
How is the city translated into software and data, and how does software reshape the city?
Curated by Rob Kitchin
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Smart cities and why they need a lot more social scientists to get involved

Smart cities and why they need a lot more social scientists to get involved | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

As a social scientist, though, various things struck me about the day, particularly about how social differences were – or were not – addressed.  Various thoughts follow.One striking thing about the day was the way in which almost every speaker began with some kind of statistics and visuals about urban population growth. This was the starting point for nearly everyone: cities are growing, the proportion of the world’s population living in cities is increasing rapidly, and this is going to be a massive problem for urban resources and infrastructure.  The other demographic trend repeatedly mentioned – often personified by the speaker’s grandma – was that the world’s population is also ageing rapidly, which was also generally assumed to be an almost equally massive problem in terms of future healthcare provision.  While neither of these facts are wrong, it did strike me that the way in which they framed every presentation, to the exclusion of any other kind of demographic, must surely be shaping the discussion of smart cities in quite specific ways.  What would happen to the debate if speakers started from other kinds of demographic information – the number of adults with caring responsibilities, for example?  Or the number of people sensitive to electro-magnetic fields?  And then we might also reflect on the fact that thinking about the social situations in which smart cities are embedded only in terms of the numbers of people and their resource requirements is also a pretty specific understanding of people, let alone cities. ...

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Bristol is making a smart city for actual humans (Wired UK)

Bristol is making a smart city for actual humans (Wired UK) | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
The city of Bristol has announced a multi-million pound experiment to create the smart city of the future
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Smart City Panel Reveals a Major Challenge to Implementation - issue is positioned as opp for vendor not cities

Smart City Panel Reveals a Major Challenge to Implementation - issue is positioned as opp for vendor not cities | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Smart Cities are a great, burgeoning opportunity for all manner of vendors, from broad-smart-city-wide solution providers to small single-person start ups that leverage ever increasing data from city-based sources. It’s an exciting area that some companies are even strategizing around – building a value proposition around cities instead of specific vertical industries or countries. However, this growing opportunity is not without pitfalls and challenges, no doubt more than what can fit in this blog post – however at our Frost & Sullivan Growth, Innovation, and Leadership event in Silicon Valley this month, we posed some of the top vendor concerns to cities that were on our Smart City panel. ...

 

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Manifesto for the Clever City - a rejigged vision of the smart city

Manifesto for the Clever City - a rejigged vision of the smart city | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The technology industry has approached the Smart City with largely the same assumptions that have served well through personal computing, web, mobile and now internet of things. Gathering as many data as possible in case they can work out a way to monazite them.

 

The city, however, is a very different context to the ones where digital technology is already preeminent. Consumers and enterprises have choices about the devices and services they adopt allowing them to opt out of products they do not feel are appropriate. Short of uprooting their entire lives citizens can not opt out of using their cities. Because of this municipal authorities need to exercise great care in the deployment of the internet of things in public space.

 

There is growing unease around the Smart City movement because of this tension. A discourse critical of the movement is gaining momentum in academia. Useful as this attention is we must not throw the baby out with the bath water. Pervasive computing and connectivity present huge opportunities to solve very real problems for citizens. We need to find a way to let this happen on terms those citizens are comfortable with. These principles for how Clever City systems can be created and used aim to aid this  ....

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Smart Cities Of The Future: The Shareable City Of Nijmegen | IntelligentHQ

Smart Cities Of The Future: The Shareable City Of Nijmegen | IntelligentHQ | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Sharing and The Sharing economy have been thriving lately and also changing the way that people go about their lives in recent years. People have been sharing their rooms with strangers, car pooling and even sharing power tools. However, there are few that have opened up to sharing in the way that Nijmegen has. Nijmegen is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, at more than 2,000 years old. The city has recently become one of the first sharing cities in the world ...

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Alina Akhmerova's curator insight, March 12, 3:45 PM

Sharing is smart!

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New sensor array changes the data collection game - Array of things | Phys.org

New sensor array changes the data collection game - Array of things | Phys.org | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

As urban populations increase, so too does the complexity involved in maintaining basic services like clean water and emergency services. But one of the biggest barriers to making cities 'smarter'—for example, comprehensively monitoring sources of waterway pollutants in real time—is quick and easy to data ...

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We can use open data to make smart cities “searchable” | CityMetric

We can use open data to make smart cities “searchable” | CityMetric | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

As we all rush to surf upon the sweeping tide of smarter cities, it pays to just pause and think – what exactly is a smart city? Or to put it another way, what is it that makes a city "not so smart" to start with? As urbanisation has been growing, distances have also been increasing between people. Communication systems have found ways to link people who are geographically distant; but they still have to catch up with the problem of how exactly to recreate the relationship between people and the environment.

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2030: How 4 smart cities are gearing up for the future | Mashable

2030: How 4 smart cities are gearing up for the future | Mashable | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Malmo, New York, Masdar and Songdo all show us what our cities will look like in the future.  While the future (as a whole) is very much unwritten, the future of what our urban centers will look like is less uncertain.  Here's a glimpse of what green design, smart technologies and sustainable architecture will look like in four cities by 2030. ...

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Smart Cities: Big Data and Resiliency | WIRED Insights

Smart Cities: Big Data and Resiliency | WIRED Insights | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Smart city discussions are almost always based on technology and how that technology can be used to improve the systems that make urban areas work. Efficiency, however, isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered. Dr. Simone Sala (@hereissimone), the Associate Director of the Sensemaking Fellowship based at the Swansea University Network Science Research Center, reminds us that resiliency, especially in the emerging world, is as important as efficiency. ...

 
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A brief history of big data | World Economic Forum

A brief history of big data | World Economic Forum | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Bernard Marr looks at the history of thought and innovation which has led us to the big data age.
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The Terrifying "Smart" City of the Future | Alternet

So-called "smart cities" are being heralded as the way of the future, but they have scary social and political consequences.

 

Imagine a world without waste. A place where the train always comes on time, where streets are plowed before snow even stops falling, and watchful surveillance cameras have sent rates of petty crime plunging. Never again will you worry about remembering your keys because your front door has an iris recognition system that won’t allow strangers to enter. To some people, this kind of uber-efficient urban living sounds like a utopian dream. But to a growing number of critics, the promise of the “smart city” is starting to seem like the stuff of nightmare. ...

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Three questions about India’s "smart cities" | World Economic Forum

Three questions about India’s "smart cities" | World Economic Forum | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

India wants to build 100 "smart cities". Nobody really knows what it means - but Jon Kher Kaw says it's the ambition that counts; the detail can come later. ...

 

 

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Smart-Cities Look to Fix Japan's Broken-Up Grid with Microgrids | Motherboard

Smart-Cities Look to Fix Japan's Broken-Up Grid with Microgrids | Motherboard | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Grids make sense. They really do. The notion, popular enough among techno-libertarian types, that every single power-consuming unit (house, factory, bunker) might be better off generating its own power off-the-grid is mostly absurd. Some things make sense (are more efficient) to do together, particularly when those things are more or less consumed in the same ways by basically everyone. Like electricity.

 

But maybe there's something in between. Enter microgrids. As detailed on IEEE Spectrum's grid blog, post-Fukushima Japan has seen a boom in the development of relatively small-scale localized grids. At first, the point was largely to boost grid efficiency, but the focus has grown more and more to include local power generation. This has residential applications, but one of the strongest examples is Toyota's F-Grid....

 

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New organisation - Data Justice | Challenging Rising Exploitation and Economic Inequality from Big Data

New organisation - Data Justice | Challenging Rising Exploitation and Economic Inequality from Big Data | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Challenging Rising Exploitation and Economic Inequality from Big Data.

The control of personal data by “big data” companies is not just as issue of privacy but is becoming a critical issue of economic justice - See more at: http://www.datajustice.org/blog/data-justice-report-taking-big-data-economic-justice-issue#sthash.NHt69FbP.dpuf
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Masdar City, Green Desert Paradise Or Disappointing Mirage?

Masdar City, Green Desert Paradise Or Disappointing Mirage? | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
MASDAR CITY — They appear like a mirage in the Gulf desert. A few yellow and silver futuristic buildings, "embroidered" ocher facades, a triangular metal lighthouse, solar panels for as far as the eye can see. Many people come to this modern oasis 30 kilometers from Abu Dhabi like
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The Quantified Workplace: Despite the Hype, Not All That Useful Yet

The Quantified Workplace: Despite the Hype, Not All That Useful Yet | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Big Data promises to predict employee behavior. But as it turns out, humans aren't particularly predictable.

 

Five or six years ago, companies realized that they were sitting on a wealth of data about their own employees. "People started to realize, 'Wait a minute, there’s a lot of data in here that we’re not using. Some of it is wrong. It’s not very clean,'" says Josh Bersin, the founder of Bersin by Deloitte, an HR research and advisory arm of Deloitte. "But if we look at it like we look at customer data, we could probably make much better decisions about who to promote, where they should be in the company, what role they would be successful at.

 

Since then, the people-analytics industry has emerged, with companies using algorithms and Big Data to recruit and assess employees. ...

 

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We Can’t Trust Uber | NY Times

We Can’t Trust Uber | NY Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Less reassuring, though, was the apparent threat from a senior vice president of Uber to spend “a million dollars” looking into the personal lives of journalists who wrote critically about Uber. The problem wasn’t just that a representative of a powerful corporation was contemplating opposition research on reporters; the problem was that Uber already had sensitive data on journalists who used it for rides. ...

 

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Public Works: Crowdsourcing a Map of Urban Decay - Detroit Blight Removal Task Force

Public Works: Crowdsourcing a Map of Urban Decay - Detroit Blight Removal Task Force | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

A Detroit tech startup has created a smartphone app called Blexting, a tool that allows locals to upload photos and descriptions of derelict buildings around the city and track them through an online database. ...

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To establish Dublin as a smart city we must strike a balance - Independent

To establish Dublin as a smart city we must strike a balance - Independent | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

LOW-cost sensors, including those in mobile devices, are creating new possibilities for helping local authorities to manage cities. They help manage flows of goods and people through the city and help us react to unforeseen events in real-time ....

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Beware the rise of the digital oligarchy | Guardian

Beware the rise of the digital oligarchy | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Powerful algorithms and the concentration of data in the hands means we need better models of data-ownership
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The Real Smart City | Core 77

The Real Smart City | Core 77 | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The Smart City is a huge, vague and ubiquitous idea. The phrase—so insistent yet so slippery—suggests a way we can understand how cities work and how we might get them to work better.  But deep down it raises serious questions of what we think cities are and what they could or should be. And the idea that it suggests—of the relationship between the physical and digital attributes of the city—is far too important to outsource to corporate providers.

 

Every age has its own idealized image of the city. From the ancient Athenian polis that invented the notion that we are citizens of a political and social framework, through the 19th-century vision of the city-as-body that gave us the “circulation” of traffic as if it were blood, to the 20th-century conception of the city as fabric of the welfare state, these ideas and metaphors have shaped, first, how we understand the city, and then helped make the city in that image.

 

The Smart City is our own era’s idealized image of the city. It imagines the city as an ecosystem of data, nature and culture. The image it suggests is of information gently collected as we cycle through a park, the soft whirr of a sensory device embedded in the fabric of the city tracking us. Smartness suggests the city itself gaining a kind of intelligence, an intelligence that is responsive and interactive with its citizens. ...

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Alina Akhmerova's curator insight, March 9, 5:40 PM

A smart city or a city of change?

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Fogs, logs and cogs: The newer, bigger shape of big data in the Internet of Things | The Big Data Hub

As we transition to a world where clouds penetrate every facet of our lives, we need to wrap our heads around the thought that every edge node, no matter how resource-constrained, can be interconnected, intelligent and integral to the performance of the whole.

 

What I’m sketching out is the vision of a world in which the Internet of Things (IoT) increasingly drives the evolution of cloud computing architectures. In an IoT-centric world, nobody needs to know that your cloud’s processing, storage and other functions have been virtualized to endpoints of every size, configuration and capability. ....

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Make your own Internet of Things devices with ARM and IBM's IoT Starter Kit | CIO

Make your own Internet of Things devices with ARM and IBM's IoT Starter Kit | CIO | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
ARM and IBM want hobbyists and small businesses alike to create their own Internet of Things applications and devices in a matter of minutes with a new development kit.
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Finally, a decent use for big data: Weeding out crooked City traders | The Register

Finally, a decent use for big data: Weeding out crooked City traders | The Register | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Financial institutions in London could use "big data" technology to pinpoint malpractice by City traders in future, a panel advising the Bank of England has said.

 

The Market Practitioner Panel (MPP) said existing methods of monitoring for illegal trading practices, such as "key word surveillance", were flawed and that deploying big data technology is a "possible longer-term solution" to uncovering malpractice. ...

 

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How To Sell Off a City: Chicago, the privatized metropolis of the future | In These Times

How To Sell Off a City: Chicago, the privatized metropolis of the future | In These Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In June of 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a new appointment to the city’s seven-member school board to replace billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who’d decamped to run President Barack Obama’s Department of Commerce. The appointee, Deborah H. Quazzo, is a founder of an investment firm called GSV Advisors, a business whose goal—her cofounder has been paraphrased by Reuters as saying—is to drum up venture capital for “an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.”

 

GSV Advisors has a sister firm, GSV Capital, that holds ownership stakes in education technology companies like “Knewton,” which sells software that replaces the functions of flesh-and-blood teachers. Since joining the school board, Quazzo has invested her own money in companies that sell curricular materials to public schools in 11 states on a subscription basis.

 

In other words, a key decision-maker for Chicago’s public schools makes money when school boards decide to sell off the functions of public schools.

 

She’s not alone. .....

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