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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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Test-Bed Urbanism by Halpern et al | Public Culture

This essay interrogates the new forms of experimentation with urban territory emerging as a result of ubiquitous computing infrastructures. We label these protocols “test-bed urbanism.” Smart, sentient, stupid, and speculative all at once, these new methods for spatial development are changing the form, function, economy, and administration of urban life.

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Smart technology at centre of new vision for Reading in 2050

Smart technology at centre of new vision for Reading in 2050 | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
The vision for the town in the middle of this century was being worked up by teams of people at the Reading 2050 workshop where employers, academics, investors, entrepreneurs, planning experts and other stakeholders came together
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Too Big to Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

Too Big to Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

First it was the banks, now it's a massive intelligence agency.

 

In an era of too-big-to-fail banks, we should have known it was coming: An intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so.

 

In a remarkable legal filing on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying operations are too massive and technically complex to comply with an order to preserve evidence. The NSA, in other words, now says that it cannot comply with the rules that apply to any other party before a court — the very rules that ensure legal accountability — because it is too big. ...

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Can Smarter City technology measure and improve our quality of life? | Urban Technologist

Can Smarter City technology measure and improve our quality of life? | Urban Technologist | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Can information and technology measure and improve the quality of life in cities? That seems a pretty fundamental question for the Smarter Cities movement to address. There is little point in us expending time and money on the application of technology to city systems unless we can answer it positively. ...

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Interactive Map Site Lets You Travel the World Through the Lenses of Drones | Mashable

Interactive Map Site Lets You Travel the World Through the Lenses of Drones | Mashable | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
A new site mixes the power of YouTube and Google Maps to give you a drone's eye view of the entire planet.
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Big data: how predictive analytics is taking over the public sector in Australia | Guardian

Big data: how predictive analytics is taking over the public sector in Australia | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
From predicting emergency department admissions to identifying tax fraud, the Australian public sector is putting its mountains of data to work
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Fàtima Galan's curator insight, June 16, 8:05 AM

"“People like working in a system that is proactive rather than reactive. When we are expecting a patient load everyone knows what their jobs, and you are more efficient with your time.”"

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What we mean by "smart" in "smart cities" | Contrordine Compagni

What we mean by "smart" in "smart cities" | Contrordine Compagni | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

There's lots of talk about smart cities. There are two reasons for such attention. The first one is structural: cities are our future as a species. Already, for the first time in history, over half the world population lives in cities. Every week, 1.3 million people relocate from rural areaas to the cities of planet Earth. It’s plain common sense that we apply our best smarts to our dominant habitat. The second one is contingent: there’s money up for grabs if you hack smart cities. In Italy, the government is throwing over 600 million euro at research-and-deploy projects to “solve problems at the urban and metropolitan scale” in spaces like safety, aging, technologies for welfare, domotics, smart grids etc....

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In the wake of Intel's deal with San José, what makes a smart city? | Gigaom

In the wake of Intel's deal with San José, what makes a smart city? | Gigaom | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Cities around the world are investing in sensor networks and the software to manage them, but what actually makes a city smart as opposed to merely connected?
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400 million Euro for Smart Cities in Belgium / Smart Mobility

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Belgian bank Belfius are allocating €400 million for projects in smart mobility, sustainable energy use and future-proof urban development across the cities and towns of Belgium.
 
The scheme, titled 'Smart Cities & Sustainable Development', is the first of its kind in Europe.
 
It has the same urban-centric focus as 'Europe 2020', the EU's target to reduce CO2 output by 20%, get 20% of all energy from renewables, and improve energy efficiency by 20%. Cities are a large part of the problem – thus also crucial for the solution. Especially so in Belgium, where 98% live in urbanised areas (EU average: 70%).
 
This is why Belfius and EIB are each contributing €200 million to the scheme, which from 4 June onwards is providing local authorities with access to cheap funding for innovative and sustainable projects in mobility, energy and urban development. The aim is to make 'Smart Cities' a benchmark for sustainability projects across Europe. ...


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Eco-friendly houses and cities are better without smart technology | Guardian

Eco-friendly houses and cities are better without smart technology | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Happy, energy-efficient environments can be maintained without relying on smart meters, thermostats or electronic controls, says Lloyd Alter.

 

Here comes the future, here comes smart everything. Google sells us thermostats, Bosch and Philips sell us heat pumps and electronic controls so that we can seal ourselves up in our smart homes. Soon they will offer us smart self-driving cars so that we can travel to our smart office while looking at our smart phones. ....

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In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments | New Republic

In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments | New Republic | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Within a few decades, contemporary literature departments (e.g., English) will be largely extinct—they’ll be as large and vibrant as Classics departments are today, which is to say, not very active at all. Only wealthy institutions will be able to afford the luxury of faculty devoted to studying written and printed text. Communications, rhetoric/composition, and media studies will take English’s place. The change isn’t necessarily an evil to be decried but simply reflects how most people now generate and read narratives and text—they do it on digitally based multimedia platforms.Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?

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The internet of things isn't about things. It's about cheap data | Gigaom

The internet of things isn't about things. It's about cheap data | Gigaom | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The value that comes from connecting your thermostat to the internet isn’t that you can now control it from your smartphone, or that it’s a theoretical home for new ads. The value is that you suddenly have access to cheap information about the temperature of your home, and by collating other data points or simple extrapolation techniques, you also have access to detailed information about what is happening in the home.

 

This can be cool. It can be creepy. And it can be convenient. But as is always the case when we encounter technological shifts, the internet of things is really a tool. ...

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We're all being mined for data – but who are the real winners? | Guardian

We're all being mined for data – but who are the real winners? | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
A year on from the NSA revelations, John Naughton ask whether big data – the masses of online information collected from all of us – is a force for good or bad
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Hey Internet, where's my talking city? | CNN

Hey Internet, where's my talking city? | CNN | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Unfulfilled promises of super-wired smart cities have sparked a dubious backlash, say experts. Years ago, experts told the world that the Internet would radically change our cities. A lot of us are still waiting. How cool, they said. Cities will be able to use the language of data to virtually talk to us, sharing information so communities can become superefficient, saving untold billions of dollars. Traffic management would untangle our commutes. Carbon emissions would plummet. Life, they said, would get a little easier. Well, some of this stuff is actually happening in places around the world. But in many other cities, businesses and governments have been ... moving ... kind of ... slow. So. What's the hold up? Where's my talking city? ...
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Robot doctors, online lawyers and automated architects: the future of the professions? | Guardian

Robot doctors, online lawyers and automated architects: the future of the professions? | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Tom Meltzer: Advances in technology have long been recognised as a threat to manual labour. Now highly skilled, knowledge-based jobs that were once regarded as safe could be at risk. How will these professions adapt to the digital age?
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From Smart Cities to Bug Cities? Smart cities and urban planning | Alain Renk

When Smart Cities meet Urban Planning
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Sensors and Citizens: Finding Balance in the New Urban Reality | Design Mind

Sensors and Citizens: Finding Balance in the New Urban Reality | Design Mind | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

You have a front row seat. Unfortunately it is the driver’s seat of your family car and a multi-vehicle accident just unfolded before your eyes. People are almost certainly injured. Traffic is backing up in all directions. As you take out your smartphone to report an emergency, you notice that first responders are already on the scene. Small aerial drones have honed in on your location and incident information is being streamed to a control center. Traffic management and dashboard navigation systems across the city have been updated and rerouting has begun. Have the victim’s medical records been accessed using their personal digital identifiers?

You’re not in a Hollywood production. You’re participating in an experience from the very near future – one in which information collection is autonomous and mobile, and the infrastructure itself is programmable in real-time. ...

 

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Are Cities Losing Control Over 'Smart' Initiatives? | GovTech

Are Cities Losing Control Over 'Smart' Initiatives? | GovTech | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Data-driven transformation raises question of how much power to keep vs. farm out.

 

From the thermostats on our walls to the sensors under the asphalt of our streets, digital technology – the so-called Internet of things – is pervading and infecting every aspect of our lives.

 

As this technology comes to cities, whether lazy suburban ones or frenetic urban centers, it is increasingly wearing the banner of “Smart Cities.” Like those other S-words and phrases, such as smart growth and sustainability, a smart city can be just about anything to anybody, and therein lies both its utility and danger. I use the term to mean the marrying of our places with the telecommunications revolution that has took hold over the last half century, including the silicon chip, the Internet, the fiber optic line and broadband networks.....

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Japan's Rollout of Smart Cities | Asia-Pacific Journal 11(23), June 2014

Japan's Rollout of Smart Cities | Asia-Pacific Journal 11(23), June 2014 | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

On May 27 Ernst & Young Institute Japan (EY) released a Japanese-language study, summarizing Japan’s over 200 smart city projects. EY’s work is especially well timed. Among other recent developments, June 2 saw Apple join a long list of firms including Toyota Home1 by entering the “smart home” market.2 The global background includes thousands of smart-city projects, collectively worth at least USD 650 billion in 2014.3 At over USD 40 billion, Korea’s Songdo smart city project is the costliest private-sector real-estate development ever undertaken. ...

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How Well Do Tech Companies Protect Your Data From Snooping? | NPR all tech

How Well Do Tech Companies Protect Your Data From Snooping? | NPR all tech | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
We looked at 15 top companies and services that handle your email or store your data every day to see what steps they take to keep it from prying eyes. See how they stack up.
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The US Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant | Motherboard

The US Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant | Motherboard | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

An appeals court just made the biggest privacy decision of 2014.

 

The government and police regularly use location data pulled off of cell phone towers to put criminals at the scenes of crimes—often without a warrant. Well, an appeals court ruled today that the practice is unconstitutional, in one of the strongest judicial defenses of technology privacy rights we've seen in a while. 

 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the government illegally obtained and used Quartavious Davis's cell phone location data to help convict him in a string of armed robberies in Miami and unequivocally stated that cell phone location information is protected by the Fourth Amendment. ...

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A brief history of open data | FCW

In December 2007, 30 open-data pioneers gathered in Sebastopol, Calif., and penned a set of eight open-government data principles that inaugurated a new era of democratic innovation and economic opportunity.  ....

Rob Kitchin's insight:

Not so much brief history as very limited history ... open data arguments extend back well before 2007

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How academics help make cities smart | Meeting of the Minds

How academics help make cities smart | Meeting of the Minds | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Academics are often characterized as pedants, focusing on trivial details and missing the big picture.  As with most stereotypes there is an element of truth in this caricature – academics seek precision and with that precision, truth.  The first thing some academics will say is “define your terms” and in the case of smart cities this is a very relevant question – a question that so far has no universally accepted answer. ...

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Biohacking, smart cities, and sex with robots | Vancouver Observer

Biohacking, smart cities, and sex with robots | Vancouver Observer | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

"We come to the city because we want to get up to no good." So said Nora Young, host of CBC's Spark in her keynote address at the From Now conference.

 

From Now, organized by Nikolas Badminton of DesignCultureMind, brought together hackers, designers, media professionals, politicians, and straight-up geeks to brainstorm on how we can make the future a bit more... human. We learned that play is serious, cities can be smart, and sex with robots is already a thing. ...

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What's the risk of investing in a Smarter City? | Urban Technologist

What's the risk of investing in a Smarter City? | Urban Technologist | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

But anyone who has tried to secure investment in an initiative to apply “smart” technology in a city knows that it is not always easy to turn that theoretical market value into actual investment in projects, technology, infrastructure and expertise.

 

It’s not difficult to see why this is the case. Most investments are made in order to generate a financial return, but profit is not the objective of “Smart Cities” initiatives: they are intended to create economic, environmental or social outcomes. So some mechanism – an investment vehicle, a government regulation or a business model – is needed to create an incentive to invest in achieving those outcomes. ...

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