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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Theses on the Epistemology of the Digital | Alan Liu

Theses on the Epistemology of the Digital | Alan Liu | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The following was written as a solicited follow-up to my participation in the second planning consultation session of the Cambridge University Centre for Digital Knowledge. The session, held on 7 May 2014 at the Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), focused on “digital epistemology,” one of the two intended thematic strands of the Centre for Digital Knowledge. A previous planning consultation at CRASSH that I did not attend focused on the other intended strand of “digital society.”

My theses below are meant more as provocation than as prescription; and they do not take account of plans that may have been put in place for the Center for Digital Knowledge since the planning consultations.

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Big Data and the Beautiful Game | Technology Services Group

Big Data and the Beautiful Game | Technology Services Group | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
“Data is worthless, only decisions have value” – this was the overriding sentiment at this year's 2014 Sports Analytics Innovation Summit.As a self-confessed data junkie, Qlikview addict, armchair football analyst and long suffering Blackburn Rovers fan, it was probably only a matter time before these four cornerstones of my life (at least the ones I’m prepared to share here) all converged at once into a 'Big Bang'; the result being my first blog.
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Big Data and the Future of the Social Sciences | Audible Impact Episode 3

Big Data and the Future of the Social Sciences | Audible Impact Episode 3 | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

  In this podcast, Professor Patrick Dunleavy talks about how big data will affect the future of the social sciences. Say goodbye to academic siloes as we enter into a new age of cross/multi/and inter-disciplinary research. In this changing landscape, the old boundaries between physical, social and data science disintegrate. Here Professor Dunleavy talks about the Social Science of Human-Dominated and Human-Influenced Systems given as part of the Annual Lecture series at the Academy of Social Sciences.

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As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics

As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Scientists can now analyze the personal data on millions of people without their knowledge, and some want to bring ethical guidelines to such studies.

 

Scholars are exhilarated by the prospect of tapping into the vast troves of personal data collected by Facebook, Google, Amazon and a host of start-ups, which they say could transform social science research.

 

Once forced to conduct painstaking personal interviews with subjects, scientists can now sit at a screen and instantly play with the digital experiences of millions of Internet users. It’s the frontier of social science — experiments on people who may never even know they are subjects of study, let alone explicitly consent.

 

“This is a new era,” said Jeffrey T. Hancock, a Cornell University professor of communication and information science. “I liken it a little bit to when chemistry got the microscope.” ...

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Open data and driverless buses: how London transport heads to the future | Guardian

Open data and driverless buses: how London transport heads to the future | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Though hard engineering continues, TfL remains a hotbed of innovation – as it should, considering its history.

 

When 19th-century engineers decided their new-fangled locomotives could be driven underground beneath London's crowded streets, they began a tradition for technological innovation that the capital's transport system has never lost.

 

Today the cutting edge has moved from steam to cyber, but the driving force is the same as it was for the Victorians – how can more people be moved more quickly and efficiently through the capital's jumbled, crowded streets?

 

At the heart of this is no nimble tech startup, but the capital's transport authority, Transport for London, which vaunts its record as an innovator in the field with some justice, according to the experts....

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Minority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues In Big Data Gathering | B2C

Minority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues In Big Data Gathering | B2C | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Big data is currently the big thing in the digital age and it has caused a significant issue regarding privacy. With the big data revolution, it is possible to collect massive information using the internet technology. Along the privacy issues are the benefits derived from this innovative solution for internet marketing. Online marketers and small to large businesses are able to find a cost effective way of data gathering, storage and analytics that can help grow their business efficiency better through big data. Online users know that each time they click on something on a website, their activities can be tracked down. How can you assure them that they don’t have to worry about their privacy when visiting your website? ....
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India's urban mess: Why setting up smart cities is going to be a tough task - Firstbiz

India's urban mess: Why setting up smart cities is going to be a tough task - Firstbiz | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Delhi’s urban planning story is also the story of urban planning in India - makeshift, patchwork, and fire-fighting. Indian cities today resemble an urban mess, a consequence of the manner in which they were imagined and planned decades ago.
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New App That Crowdsources 'Sketchy' Local Areas Fights Charges of Racism | PC Mag

New App That Crowdsources 'Sketchy' Local Areas Fights Charges of Racism | PC Mag | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

On paper, it sounds like a good idea: A smartphone app that uses crowd-sourced data to tell you where the more unsafe areas of your neighborhood are. You might not need such a thing if you've lived in a particular area for a while, but this kind of an app might be especially useful if you're navigating around a new city and have absolutely no idea where you should or shouldn't go.

 

The problem? Allegations have been made that the app in question, Sketch Factor, is racist—unintentionally or otherwise. ...

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Smart Cities in Africa | Chinafrica

Smart Cities in Africa | Chinafrica | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Africa's current rural-to-urban transition needs human capital mobilization to build smarter, more sustainable cities ...

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You partied hard at Boston Calling and there's facial recognition data to prove it | Boston dig

You partied hard at Boston Calling and there's facial recognition data to prove it | Boston dig | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Nobody at either day of last year’s debut Boston Calling partied with much expectation of privacy. With an army of media photographers, selfie takers, and videographers recording every angle of the massive concert on Government Center, it was inherently clear that music fans were in the middle of a massive photo opp.

 

What Boston Calling attendees (and promoters, for that matter) didn’t know, however, was that they were all unwitting test subjects for a sophisticated new event monitoring platform. Namely, the city’s software and equipment gave authorities a live and detailed birdseye view of concertgoers, pedestrians, and vehicles in the vicinity of City Hall on May 25 and 26 of 2013 (as well as during the two days of a subsequent Boston Calling in September). We’re not talking about old school black and white surveillance cameras. More like technology that analyzes every passerby for height, clothing, and skin color. ...

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Building smart cities without energy: a conundrum for India | The Hindu

Building smart cities without energy: a conundrum for India | The Hindu | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Despite India’s effort to achieve energy security by opening new mines and acquiring oil wells abroad, the massive quantity of energy required for smart cities is likely to remain elusive
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Hacking for Transport Apps: The view from Sydney by Sophia Maalsen | The Programmable City

Hacking for Transport Apps: The view from Sydney by Sophia Maalsen | The Programmable City | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In 2012 the New South Wales (NSW) Government held an app hacking competition for developing public transport apps that used real time data and which were intended to help commuters better plan their journey and create a better public transport experience. The three successful apps, TripView, TripGo and Arrivo Sydney were launched in December 2012. According to the NSW Government, the apps contain data spanning 8,200 stops, more than 1,900 buses and close to 1,200 routes throughout Sydney. It is claimed that TripView is one of the most popular apps with close to 1 million requests each week. ...

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With Numbers in Place: Security, Territory, and the Production of Calculable Space by R Rose-Redwood | Annals AAG

With Numbers in Place: Security, Territory, and the Production of Calculable Space by R Rose-Redwood | Annals AAG | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Recent geographical scholarship on the politics of calculation has led to a reevaluation of the role of statistics, census-taking, and mapping as calculative techniques that have been of primary importance to the rise of the modern territorial state. The current study contributes to this literature by examining how the political technologies of street addressing have been employed to reconfigure the territory of the United States as a calculable space of security. Drawing on extensive archival research and thirty semistructured, in-depth interviews, this study provides a genealogy of calculable space, focusing particularly on the extension of city-style street addressing systems into rural communities to aid emergency management, homeland security, and various other governmental measures as part of the general process that Foucault (2007) has referred to as the “urbanization of the territory.” As a case study, I consider the campaign to readdress rural areas in West Virginia to illustrate the social and political processes at work in remaking the territory into a space of calculation by encoding the landscape with a spatial regime of inscriptions. The results presented here show how 911 addressing systems have been central to the reorganization of political space at a time when the apparatuses of security are being “enhanced” by the apparent marvels of geospatial technology. To the extent that such technologies are themselves implicated in reshaping the very spaces that they are designed to represent, this study calls our attention to the pervasive role that spatial calculation plays in the production of a geo-coded world. ...

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Go to Chicago for visit to future of big data

Go to Chicago for visit to future of big data | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
No doubt you’ve heard about “big data,” a buzz term that gets associated with dramatic visions for the future, both utopian and dystopian.
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“Smart Mobility” for Developing Cities | World Bank, Transport for Development

“Smart Mobility” for Developing Cities  | World Bank, Transport for Development | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

In many developing cities, transport infrastructure – whether it be roads, metro systems or BRT - is not growing fast enough, and cannot keep up with the ever-increasing demand for urban mobility. Indeed, constructing urban transport infrastructure is both expensive and challenging. First, many cities do not yet have the capacity to mobilize the large amount of funds needed to finance infrastructure projects. Second, planning and implementing urban transport infrastructure projects is tough, especially in dense urban areas where land acquisition and resettlement issues can be extremely complex. As a result, delays in project implementation are the norm in many places. Therefore, solving urgent urban transport problems in these cities requires us to think outside the box. Fortunately, the rapid development of ICT-enabled approaches provides a great opportunity to optimize and enhance the efficiency of existing and new urban transport systems, at a cost much lower than building new infrastructure from the ground up. ....

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Government needs to liberate existing cities before building 100 smart cities (India) - The Economic Times

Government needs to liberate existing cities before building 100 smart cities (India) - The Economic Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Indian cities are not economically independent, but are shackled by chains of servitude. Except for the large municipal corporations they do not have professional personnel to lead them.
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Report: The Competitiveness of Cities | World Economic Forum

Report: The Competitiveness of Cities | World Economic Forum | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The World Economic Forum has been studying competitiveness for over 30 years by focusing on the assessment of the productive potential of countries in The Global Competitiveness Report series. To complement this strand of work, the Forum created the Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness as part of the Network of Global Agenda Councils. In 2012, Council Members identified the leadership role that cities are taking in stimulating the competitiveness of countries and regions as a key issue for further study. ...

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Infrastructure, connectivity key to Africa’s smart cities | BizTech Africa

Infrastructure, connectivity key to Africa’s smart cities | BizTech Africa | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Traditionally, urbanisation has occurred around developments in primary transport infrastructure - including ports, rail and major roads – which are generally designed and positioned in support of major industry developments and the primary movement of goods and services. However, Matchett notes that city planners in Africa must not neglect the supporting infrastructure networks in their long-term visions and planning, too. ...

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NIST 'Global City Teams Challenge' to Create Smart Cities

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several partners today are kicking off the year-long Global City Teams Challenge to help communities around the world work together to address issues ranging from air quality to traffic management to emergency services coordination. NIST is inviting communities and innovators to create teams that will foster the spread of “smart cities” that take advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life. ...

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When Big Data Is Watching You | TechCrunch

When Big Data Is Watching You | TechCrunch | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Is the answer to our feeble human minds needing to grapple with increasing quantities of big data to stand in a purpose built room immersed in complex data visualisations while wearing an array of sensors that track our physiological reactions? A group of European Commission-backed scientists believe so.

They’re attempting to quantify — and, they claim, enhance — cognition by building a sensor-based data visualisation system that dynamically changes the complexity level of the data on display in response to human triggers, such as gestures, eye movements and heart rate. ....

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Mapping the city for safety with Safetipin | LiveMint

Mapping the city for safety with Safetipin | LiveMint | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
The location-based mobile app collects safety-related information and posts it for the benefit of others
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Municipality of Limassol, Cyprus: Smart city proposal

Municipality of Limassol, Cyprus: Smart city proposal | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

, The Municipality of Limassol has submitted a proposal under the programme ‘European Innovation Partnership Smart Cities and Communities’ to implement a set of interventions to improve...

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Garden cities and smart cities: the business case for urban regeneration | Guardian

Garden cities and smart cities: the business case for urban regeneration | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Housing shortages mean the government's idea of garden cities has an appeal, but the jobs and economic activities that go with homes must also be tackled
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Why Startup Urbanism Will Fail Us

Why Startup Urbanism Will Fail Us | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

On the surface, the Downtown Project appears to be a serious commitment to the Jacobs’ “ballet of the street.” It presents all the latest notions of the city as a sustainable, walkable, spontaneously creative space built out of the existing city. Inspired by Harvard economist Ed Glaeser’s free-market urbanist bible, The Triumph of the City, it takes the hacker ethos, the latest academic research, complexity theory and places them in the real world. If you go by what the mass media says, this is a bold move, a bet on the powers of the city.

 

But can one re-imagine the dynamics of the city in the same way one thinks about a tech startup? The rhetoric of Startup Urbanism offer a new vocabulary that foregrounds disruption, open source, and connectedness as values that can be transposed from the Internet straight onto the organization of our cities streets. It supposes that, if you can get the code right, the script will run without glitches. However, such technological solutionism is simplistic, naïve at best, and, more likely, dangerously short-sighted.

 

The city is not a startup. It is not a market than needs to be disrupted in order to stimulate competition and growth. The city is not a platform that can be hacked. Despite the optimistic talk, it is an old language that is being spoken here: Startup Urbanism is gentrification by another name. ...

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André Lemos's curator insight, August 7, 2014 6:46 AM

A cidade não é uma startup! 

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When society becomes fully transparent to the state | Peter Levine

When society becomes fully transparent to the state | Peter Levine | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Today’s topic is how digital media makes society more legible to the state, and whether that is good or bad for democracy.

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