The Programmable City
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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 – intelligent solutions for future generations - ABB Conversations

Smart Cities – intelligent solutions for future generations - ABB Conversations | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Many of the building blocks for creating smart cities are already available. It is an ongoing evolution rather than a disruptive change.
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Keeping an eye on the (data) dashboard - Demos Quarterly

Data dashboards help us to make sense of increasingly complex and constantly refreshing information. But what do they miss out? Jamie Bartlett and Nathaniel Tkacz introduce their ESRC-supported project on the subject.....

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When Wall Street and Silicon Valley come together – a cautionary tale | Observor

When Wall Street and Silicon Valley come together – a cautionary tale | Observor | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Increasingly, to oppose tech innovation is akin to defaulting on Enlightenment values. But there is a dark side to this gospel of digitalisation when it is closely aligned with financial motives

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Can The "GitHub For Science" Convince Researchers To Open-Source Their Data? | Co.Labs

Can The "GitHub For Science" Convince Researchers To Open-Source Their Data? | Co.Labs | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Science has a problem: Researchers don't share their data. A new startup wants to change that by melding GitHub and Google Docs.

 

Nathan Jenkins is a condensed matter physicist and programmer who has worked at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. He recently left his post-doc program at New York University to cofound Authorea, a platform that helps scientists draft, collaborate on, share, and publish academic articles. We talked with him about the idea behind Authorea, the open science movement, and the future of scientific publishing.....

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Tomorrow's cities - How do cities get smarter? BBC News

Tomorrow's cities - How do cities get smarter? BBC News | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Mention "smart cities" to people and the first questions they ask are: "What is a smart city?" and "Where is the smartest one?"

Unfortunately neither are particularly easy to answer. Smart means different things to different cities. For some, it may be finding ways to relieve pollution or congestion - using sensors and data analysis. For others, it is more about finding ways to make cities greener - with bike-sharing schemes or more parks.

Some cities have been built with smartness in mind, such as Songdo in South Korea, which has hi-tech plumbed into its infrastructure, or green city Masdar in the United Arab Emirates.

Even cities in some of the least technically advanced areas of the world have aspects of smartness, whether it be the plan to monitor urbanisation in Dar es Salaam with apps such as OpenStreetMap, or the smart slum being developed in Stellenbosch, outside Cape Town, which is powering homes with roof-mounted solar panels and allowing people to purchase electricity though their mobile phones.

The UK is keen not only to build smarter cities but to become a world leader in smart-city technology.

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Neoliberalism and big data: public and private goods | Club Troppo

Neoliberalism and big data: public and private goods | Club Troppo | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In the words of Ronald Regan, here we go again.* Sandy Pentland rehearses something that's made it's way from heresy to platitudinal commonplace with breakneck speed. Asked "what, specifically, is the New Deal on Data?” Sandy tells us this:

 

It’s a rebalancing of the ownership of data in favor of the individual whose data is collected. People would have the same rights they now have over their physical bodies and their money.

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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
“Smart city” has become a buzzword in India ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his vision for creating a series (a hundred, to be exact) of them. Since then, there have been many debates to unpack, understand and define the smart city. “Smart cities” joins the long list of many other often overused city descriptors […]
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Smart City: a complex relationship between city and technology - Oasus

Smart City: a complex relationship between city and technology - Oasus | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
What is a Smart City? If we want to understand the Smart City phenomenon, we should understand the complex relationship between city and technology.
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Quantifying the Livable City | CityLab

Quantifying the Livable City | CityLab | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

NYU's Constantine Kontokosta sees Big Data as a tool not just for saving energy—but for making cities healthier, more resilient, and more equitable. ...

 

Yet it was Kontokosta, the deputy director of academics at New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), who conceived of Hudson Yards as what is now being called the nation's first "quantified community." This entails an unprecedentedly wide array of data being collected—not just on energy and water consumption, but real-time greenhouse gas emissions and airborne pollutants, measured with tools like hyper-spectral imagery. ...

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Governing in the Smartphone Era | Harvard Magazine

Governing in the Smartphone Era | Harvard Magazine | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In 2011, after nine years and a $2-billion investment, New York City’s revamped 911 system still had a major problem: trouble in tracking emergency responses, especially when multiple calls came in about the same incident, or one call involved multiple incidents. This made it nearly impossible for officials to tease out why some city residents waited longer for aid—a matter, potentially, of life and death.

The city had all the information it needed about the 30,000 calls it received daily, but lacked a system to unify that data and, more importantly, the political will to do so. ....

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The $2 Trillion Mega-City Dividend China’s Leaders Oppose: Cities | Bloomberg

The $2 Trillion Mega-City Dividend China’s Leaders Oppose: Cities | Bloomberg | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

China needs a new prescription for growth: Cram even more people into the pollution-ridden megacities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.  

 

While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, failing to expand and improve these urban areas could be even worse. That’s because the biggest cities drive innovation and specialization, with easier-to-reach consumers and more cost-efficient public transport systems, according to Yukon Huang, a former World Bank chief in China.

 

He estimates China’s leaders’ seven-month-old urbanization blueprint, which aims to funnel rural migrants to smaller cities, will slice as much as a percentage point off gross domestic product growth annually through the end of 2020. ...

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Is the future of cities smart? | RSA Comment

Is the future of cities smart? | RSA Comment | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In the future, cities will account for 80% of wealth creation, 60% of energy consumption, and almost 90% of global population growth, according to research on city science from MIT. Russel Cooke argues that those cities that understand the value of ‘big data’ within their urbanisation strategies will be better positioned for future improvements. ...

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A political economy of Twitter data? by @samkinsley | Contagion

Many of the research articles and blogs concerning conducting research with social media data, and in particular with Twitter data, offer overviews of their methods (link is external) for harvesting data through an API. An Application Programming Interface (link is external) is a set of software components that allow third parties to connect to a given application or system and utilise its capacities using their own code. Most of these research accounts tend to make this process seem rather straight forward. Researchers can either write a programme themselves, such as, or can utilise one of several tools that have emerged that provide a WYSIWYG interface for undertaking the connection to the social networking platform, such as implementing yourTwapperKeeper (link is external), COSMOS (link is external) or using a service such as ScraperWiki (link is external) (to which I will return). However, what is little commented upon is the restrictions put on access to data through many of the social networking platform APIs, in particular Twitter. The aim of this blog post is to address some of the issues around access to data and what we are permitted to do with it. ...

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Should we be concerned about Placemeter – an app which monitors street views from apartment windows? | Guardian

Should we be concerned about Placemeter – an app which monitors street views from apartment windows? | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Placemeter pays New Yorkers to suction-cup an old smartphone to their window, then records and analyses what’s happening outside.

 

In Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight, Batman tracks down the Joker via a controversial technique: he hacks into the mobile phones of unsuspecting citizens to create a comprehensive, real-time, 3D surveillance map of Gotham City and its residents. His tech specialist, Lucius Fox, agrees to help him – but warns Batman that he has gone too far, and declares his resignation.

 

Now a new app is hoping you’ll agree to something similar: by paying you to suction-cup an old smartphone on your window and record what’s happening on the street outside.

 

Placemeter is paying people up to $50 a month for the video feed they supply to the company. The raw film is transmitted to a sensor that turns the feed into aggregated and anonymised data for local businesses, urban planners and advertisers to purchase so that they can get a more accurate measurement of activity within the city. ...

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Software Studies: the meaning of statistics and digital humanities by @manovich

Software Studies: the meaning of statistics and digital humanities by @manovich | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

As the number of people using quantitative methods to study "cultural data" is gradually increasing (right now these people work in a few areas which do not interact: digital humanities, empirical film studies, computers and art history, computational social science), it is important to ask: what is statistics, and what does it mean to use statistical methods to study culture? Does using statistics immediately make you a positivist? ...

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Could we plan our cities using Twitter? | The Guardian

Could we plan our cities using Twitter? | The Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Last year, the Urban Attitudes Lab was founded, dedicated to studying how “big data” can inform city planning and policy. Its director, Justin Hollander, and his team have been analysing Twitter for key words and sentiments about civic issues, in order to learn more about what people think about their cities, and how policy can respond.

“A lot of what I’m trying to uncover is, where are people happy? What makes them happy? This has the potential to revolutionise how local governments in particular plan for the future,” Hollander says in Next City. Whereas census data is produced every 10 years, tweets are produced every second – meaning they are a vital way of gathering up-to-date information on our cities. ....

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Open Data Futures Conference - Digital Catapult Centre

Urban Data. Health Data. Environmental Data. This conference will look at what is possible when innovators have the chance to ‘play’ with datasets, and ask:

• What level of interaction can citizens have with their cities, environments and healthcare providers?

• How can they influence development on a larger scale?

• Can they effect positive change by having access to their data?

 

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Developing a City Strategy for Cybersecurity: A 7-Step Guide for Local Governments by Microsoft

Developing a City Strategy for Cybersecurity: A 7-Step Guide for Local Governments by Microsoft | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Cybersecurity is an issue that can't be ignored at any level of government. To help cities prioritize risks and assign roles and responsibilities for key aspects of cybersecurity within their infrastructures, Microsoft just released a set of recommendations every city should consider. Click to download a copy.
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Apple is now crowdsourcing business listings to help make Maps better | The Verge

Apple is now crowdsourcing business listings to help make Maps better | The Verge | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
For years you've been able to report inaccurate or otherwise lacking information from Apple Maps listings. The company has also employed what's known as "ground truth" personnel, people whose job...
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Is big data heading for its 'horsemeat moment'? | phys.org

Is big data heading for its 'horsemeat moment'? | phys.org | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
There have been so many leaks, hacks and scares based on misuse or misappropriation of personal data that any thought that 'big data' could provide benefits rather than only opportunities for harm may be fading in the public imagination.
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What makes a city 'smart,' anyway? | Model D

What makes a city 'smart,' anyway? | Model D | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
In the wake of the recent Meeting of the Minds conference in Detroit, here are some thoughts on what we mean when we talk about 'smart cities.'
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Civic Tech and Engagement: With Waze, Who's in the Driver's Seat?

Civic Tech and Engagement: With Waze, Who's in the Driver's Seat? | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Can you be a "connected citizen" if you don't know that you are connected to government? That's the question that's been on my mind since Waze, the crowdsourced traffic data company recently acquired by Google, announced a major new partnership with ten local cities and governments around the world called "Connected Citizens."

 

Under this program, Waze will be giving city, state and county authorities like the New York Police Department and Rio de Janiero's Operations Center real-time traffic incident data (aggregated and anonymized) and in turn getting timely and relevant data from the authorities about scheduled events (construction, marathons and the like) that can also cause traffic problems. Since the program's announcement, dozens more governments have been applying to join in.

 

At first glance, this can only be seen as a net plus good where everyone wins: Waze users get even better real-time traffic help, first responders can move faster to address road problems, and Google and Waze can make their traffic maps and predictions more accurate (something that was already happening as Wazers' data was incorporated into Google Maps last year).

 

But the New York Police Department is hardly anyone's idea of a transparent or responsive public organization, and Waze--for all its user-friendly language and services--is also part of a much larger business, Google, that is also all over the map on protecting user privacy. So this new partnership between Waze and governments around the world deserves much closer attention.....

 

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The Core Features of the Data-Powered City | Data-Smart City Solutions

The Core Features of the Data-Powered City | Data-Smart City Solutions | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
In our new book, The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance, Susan Crawford and I show how the most innovative cities and their leaders are using technology to become more nimble and better able to respond to the needs of a growing population. We describe four core features of this new governance
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Khammam as a smart city? City still plagued by poor infrastructure | The Hindu

Khammam as a smart city? City still plagued by poor infrastructure | The Hindu | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
More than a year-and-a-half after being upgraded as a municipal corporation, the town is plagued by poor infrastructure. The State Govt’s recent move to back Khammam’s inclusion in the list of smart cities thus comes as a lifeline to the fund-starved corporation
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Big Data And The Death of Passion | Forbes

We live in the “information age” – perhaps too much information -  and the consultants are having a field day  telling us how to handle it all. “It may not be possible to overstate at this point how important big data analytics could be to the business world…what may look like [...]
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