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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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A Makeover for Maps | NY Times

A Makeover for Maps | NY Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Some graphic designers are trying to improve presentation of information using video and color rather than simple bar charts and graphs.
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Sentient Streets: A 'Living' Pedestrian Signal of the Future | thisbigcity

Sentient Streets: A 'Living' Pedestrian Signal of the Future | thisbigcity | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
As more and more objects become Internet-connected and data-enabled, technologists and urban designers are beginning to explore what this means for how we interact with everyday objects in a city.
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Why the Nate Silvers of the World Don't Know Everything | Wired

Why the Nate Silvers of the World Don't Know Everything | Wired | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The reason the quants win is that they’re almost always right—at least at first. They find numerical patterns or invent ingenious algorithms that increase profits or solve problems in ways that no amount of subjective experience can match. But what happens after the quants win is not always the data-driven paradise that they and their boosters expected. The more a field is run by a system, the more that system creates incentives for everyone (employees, customers, competitors) to change their behavior in perverse ways—providing more of whatever the system is designed to measure and produce, whether that actually creates any value or not. It’s a problem that can’t be solved until the quants learn a little bit from the old-fashioned ways of thinking they’ve displaced. ...

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4 Smart Designs For New Cities That Can Withstand Any Storm | Fastcoexist

4 Smart Designs For New Cities That Can Withstand Any Storm | Fastcoexist | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Without serious preparation most cities will be overwhelmed by rising waters. Here are some ideas for how to deal with climate change from protective wetlands to shipping container reefs...

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Forget artificial intelligence. It's artificial idiocy we need to worry about | Guardian

Forget artificial intelligence. It's artificial idiocy we need to worry about | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Tom Chatfield: Machines are good at some things and OK at others, but completely useless when it comes to understanding ...

 

As those in the business of selling computers enjoy pointing out, 90% of the data in existence was produced in the last few years. Yet it seems unlikely that we're now nine times smarter than everyone else who ever lived – while all one billion bad assumptions make for is one really big, really bad answer. Forget artificial intelligence – in the brave new world of big data, it's artificial idiocy we should be looking out for.

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Architecture in 2014: singing bins, talking pavements and skygardens | Guardian

Architecture in 2014: singing bins, talking pavements and skygardens | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
From crime-fighting lampposts to garden cities, Oliver Wainwright charts the architecture trends that await us in 2014
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Subaltern Empowerment in the Geoweb: Tensions between Publicity and Privacy - Young & Gilmore | Antipode

Subaltern Empowerment in the Geoweb: Tensions between Publicity and Privacy - Young & Gilmore | Antipode | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Geographers have argued that the emergence of the geospatial web, or geoweb, represents a radical shift away from the state's monopolization of geospatial technologies. Like the public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) movement before it, the geoweb research agenda has emphasized a desire for empowerment and participatory democracy. However, this research agenda has also inherited a conceptualization of power that emphasizes the linkages between empowerment and public visibility, and this paper argues that this inheritance opens potentially sensitive geoweb data to exploitation. Geographers therefore have an important role to play in emphasizing the need to explore ways of harnessing the power of the geoweb for marginalized communities while nonetheless maintaining those communities' privacy. This paper uses work with the Maijuna indigenous people of Peru as a case study to begin a discussion about how the political goals of disempowered people may be best obtained through both public and private uses of the geoweb.

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Redefining the city through social software: open source locative art | Timeto | First Monday

In this paper, I compare the work of the Guerrilla Spam collective (GS), which works mainly with analog technologies such as b/w manifestos that they stick up on urban walls, and the work of Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico (Art is Open Source, aka AOS), who work with digital platforms and open source software production. I show how space can be localized and mobilized at the same time, and how space is conceived as situated and generative by different technologies which share a bottom–up approach that creates new forms of experience of the urban, resignifying its everyday codes. For this reason, I adopt an analytical framework that, drawing on actor-network theory and non–representational theory, underlines the performative aspects of both space and information and helps redefine concepts such as location and software in a processual and performative way. Comparing the actions of GS and AOS brings to the fore the importance of horizontal social practices and sociotechnical associations without which cities could not be intelligent nor could technologies be smart. Through their artistic interventions, urban space is recontextualized and activated by means of multi–authorial performances in which ordinary codes acquire shared meanings that allow for collaborative and open source practices.
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It's the Numbers, Stupid! Data-Driven Policies Will Lead to Tomorrow's Smart Cities | TriplePundit

It's the Numbers, Stupid! Data-Driven Policies Will Lead to Tomorrow's Smart Cities | TriplePundit | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
As of 2008, the world’s urban population finally surpassed that of the rural -- and this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
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Smart Cities: Urban laboratories and experiments | Sustainable Mobility

Smart Cities: Urban laboratories and experiments | Sustainable Mobility | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

One of the most currently used expressions is that the twenty-first century is the century of cities. According to forecasts made by the UN, by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, and each month around 200,000 people will integrate into city life. In the face of the emerging megacity phenomenon and the growing need for infrastructures and multiplication of environmental impacts, capital cities will be increasingly subjected to pressure in terms of converting into Smart Cities (Mitchell, 2003; Urry & Denis, 2009; Caragliu and at 2009) ...

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Smartphones: Powerful Tools for Science Education and Citizen Science | Duke Environment

Smartphones: Powerful Tools for Science Education and Citizen Science | Duke Environment | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

That smartphone in your purse or pocket isn’t just for viewing movies and checking Facebook. By putting data collection, visualization and learning in the palm of your hand, it’s helping to transform science education and open up unprecedented opportunities for citizen science.

 

That’s the message of a persuasive new peer-reviewed commentary published by two Duke University faculty members in EOS, the weekly magazine of the American Geophysical Union.

 

“With more than 6 billion smartphones and mobile devices being used worldwide, this technology presents enormous possibilities – especially for the environmental sciences,” ...

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Data Are Money for Google to Facebook Wanting NSA to Back Off | Bloomberg

Data Are Money for Google to Facebook Wanting NSA to Back Off | Bloomberg | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and
other Internet companies expressing outrage over the National
Security Agency intercepting their users’ data pioneered mining
information about customers, sometimes without their knowledge.
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Recife: The Playable City | iShed

Recife: The Playable City | iShed | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Recife: The Playable City is an exciting new international initiative that will bring together artists, producers and technologists from Pernambuco (Brazil) and the UK, to develop new ideas at the intersection of art, technology, society and culture that respond to the theme of The Playable City.

 

Run in collaboration with Brazilian Technology Park Porto Digital and the British Council, the programme invites practitioners to work together in small teams, to develop playful interventions that rethink public space. Through a shared process of making and testing, participants will explore ideas with others, to develop work that responds to the challenges our future cities may face. ...

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Got pests? Open data project reveals housing code violation data | SFBG

Got pests? Open data project reveals housing code violation data | SFBG | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Thanks to a handy new online platform created by the city’s Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and Code for America, you can now determine whether the rental you’re eyeing is moldy, pest-ridden, or otherwise hazardous to your health – before signing a lease.

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The emergence of the connected city - O'Reilly Radar

The emergence of the connected city - O'Reilly Radar | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

If the modern city is a symbol for randomness — even chaos — the city of the near future is shaping up along opposite metaphorical lines. The urban environment is evolving rapidly, and a model is emerging that is more efficient, more functional, more — connected, in a word....

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Market for selling fake social media clicks has big following | LA Times

Market for selling fake social media clicks has big following | LA Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Celebrities, businesses and even the U.S.
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The spies you'll wear: When big data gets too personal | InfoWorld

The spies you'll wear: When big data gets too personal | InfoWorld | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Vendors at CES are pushing wearables as big data generators -- and possibly hammering the final nail in privacy's coffin
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Placing citizens at the heart of citizen science | The Guardian

Placing citizens at the heart of citizen science | The Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Michelle Kilfoyle and Hayley Birch: Citizen science isn't new, but new mobile technologies open up huge potential benefits for science, society and the environment.
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Plotting practices and politics: (im)mutable narratives in OpenStreetMap by Perkins | TIBG

Plotting practices and politics: (im)mutable narratives in OpenStreetMap by Perkins | TIBG | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

It has been argued that crowd-sourcing offers a radical alternative to conventional ways of mapping, challenging the hegemony of official and commercial cartographies. In this view mapping might begin to offer a forum for different voices, mapping different things, enabling new ways of living. Instead of the Latourian notion of the map as immutable mobile, fixing knowledge and bodies and facilitating governance, the wikification of mapping might facilitate a more mutable politics. This paper focuses on these possibilities by examining OpenStreetMap (OSM), arguably the most significant and emancipatory of neo-geographic assemblages. While not underplaying the importance of a political economic understanding of the Geoweb, it suggests we need to attend more to the contexts through which emergent knowledge communities enact alternatives, and that notions of practice are central in any evaluation of changing politics of representation. Communities involved in OSM contest the geographies that they call into being, and this process can be narrated through a consideration of local action, in different map spaces and places. A processual view of mapping reveals the extent of mutability of OSM, and highlights many of the tensions evident in collaborative remapping. New ways of mapping reciprocally create and reinforce newly expert knowledge communities that may be emancipatory, but that may also reify power relations. Crowd-sourced mapping is likely to comprise a hybrid of mutable and immutable elements.

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The New Political Economy of Geographical Intelligence by Crampton and Roberts | Annals AAG

The New Political Economy of Geographical Intelligence by Crampton and Roberts | Annals AAG | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
(2014). The New Political Economy of Geographical Intelligence. Annals of the Association of American Geographers: Vol. 104, No. 1, pp. 196-214. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2013.843436

 

A troubling new political economy of geographical intelligence has emerged in the United States over the last two decades. The contours of this new political economy are difficult to identify due to official policies keeping much relevant information secret. The U.S. intelligence community increasingly relies on private corporations, working as contractors, to undertake intelligence work, including geographical intelligence (formally known as GEOINT). In this article we first describe the geography intelligence “contracting nexus” consisting of tens of thousands of companies (including those in the geographical information systems and mapping sector), universities and nonprofits receiving Department of Defense and intelligence agency funding. Second, we discuss the “knowledge nexus” to conceptualize how geographical knowledge figures in current U.S. intelligence efforts, themselves part of the U.S. war on terror and counterinsurgency (COIN). To analyze the contracting nexus we compiled and examined extensive data on military and intelligence contracts, especially those contracts awarded by the country's premier geographical intelligence agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), for satellite data. To analyze the knowledge nexus we examined recent changes in the type of geographical knowledges enrolled in and produced by the U.S. intelligence community. We note a shift from an emphasis on areal and cultural expertise to a focus on calculative predictive spatial analysis in geographical intelligence. Due to a lack of public oversight and accountability, the new political economy of geographical intelligence is not easy to research, yet there are reasons to be troubled by it and the violent surveillant state it supports.

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An Organic Approach to City Design by Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab | Grasp

An Organic Approach to City Design by Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab | Grasp | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In the quest for developing sustainable and liveable cities of the future, the urban planners, designers and architects should take a step back. According to Joi Ito, the Director of MIT Media Lab, the key to innovation is to empower and enable nature, rather than trying to control it. ....

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The anthropology of an equation | Kockelman in Journal of Ethnographic Theory

This article undertakes the anthropology of an equation that constitutes the essence of an algorithm that underlies a variety of computational technologies—most notably spam filters, but also data-mining tools, diagnostic tests, predictive parsers, risk assessment techniques, and Bayesian reasoning more generally. The article foregrounds the ways ontologies are both embodied in and transformed by such algorithms. And it shows the stakes such ontological transformations have for one particularly widespread and powerful metaphor and device—the sieve. In so doing, this inquiry shows some of the complex processes that must be considered if we are to understand some of the key relations linking semiosis and statistics. Reflexively, these processes perturb some core ontological assumptions in anthropology, science and technology studies, and critical theory.

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How Your Data Are Being Deeply Mined by Alice E. Marwick | New York Review of Books

How Your Data Are Being Deeply Mined by Alice E. Marwick | New York Review of Books | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Using techniques ranging from supermarket loyalty cards to targeted advertising on Facebook, private companies systematically collect very personal information, from who you are, to what you do, to what you buy.
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Tim Berners-Lee leads call for more transparency over mass surveillance | The Guardian

Tim Berners-Lee leads call for more transparency over mass surveillance | The Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Open letter claims UK and US governments are contradicting accountability pledge of Open Government Partnership. By Alex Hern
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Algorithms Won’t Replace Managers, But Will Change Everything About What They Do | HBR Blog

Algorithms Won’t Replace Managers, But Will Change Everything About What They Do | HBR Blog | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The labor market is about to be transformed by machine intelligence, the combination of ubiquitous data and the algorithms that make sense of them. That’s according to economist Tyler Cowen, in an argument spelled out in his recent book Average is Over. As Cowen sees it, your job prospects are directly tied to your ability to successfully augment machine intelligence. He writes:

 

Workers more and more will come to be classified into two categories. The key questions will be: Are you good at working with intelligent machines or not? Are your skills a complement to the skills of the computer, or is the computer doing better without you? … If you and your skills are a complement to the computer, your wage and labor market prospects are likely to be cheery. If your skills do not complement the computer, you may want to address that mismatch. Ever more people are starting to fall on one side of the divide or the other. That’s why average is over. ...

 

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