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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 Cloudless Atlas — How MapBox Aims to Make the World's 'Most Beautiful Map' | Wired Design

A Cloudless Atlas — How MapBox Aims to Make the World's 'Most Beautiful Map' | Wired Design | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Using open data, MapBox is taking on the big players in online maps. Now they want to fix satellite view.
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Hear Ye, Future Deep Throats: This Is How to Leak to the Press | Wired Opinion

Hear Ye, Future Deep Throats: This Is How to Leak to the Press | Wired Opinion | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
We now live in an Orwellian world where public servants informing the public about government behavior or wrongdoing must practice the tradecraft of drug dealers and spies if he or she wishes to talk to the press … Just imagine if Mark Felt had to...
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Big Data Needs a Big Theory to Go with It: Scientific American

Big Data Needs a Big Theory to Go with It: Scientific American | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Just as the industrial age produced the laws of thermodynamics, we need universal laws of complexity to solve our seemingly intractable problems
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S. Korea unveils big data center to help industry catch up | ZDNet

S. Korea unveils big data center to help industry catch up | ZDNet | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Center will enable businesses and researchers to refine and analyze big data for their projects, and aims to bring the industry's level to that of global technology firms which it says is 2 to 5 years behind.
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Executive Order -- Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information | The White House

Executive Order -- Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information | The White House | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

 

Section 1. General Principles. Openness in government strengthens our democracy, promotes the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and contributes to economic growth. As one vital benefit of open government, making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery that improves Americans' lives and contributes significantly to job creation. ...

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Think Again: Big Data | Why the rise of machines isn't all it's cracked up to be by Kate Crawford | Foreign Policy

Think Again: Big Data | Why the rise of machines isn't all it's cracked up to be by Kate Crawford | Foreign Policy | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

 "With Enough Data, the Numbers Speak for Themselves."

Not a chance. The promoters of big data would like us to believe that behind the lines of code and vast databases lie objective and universal insights into patterns of human behavior, be it consumer spending, criminal or terrorist acts, healthy habits, or employee productivity. But many big-data evangelists avoid taking a hard look at the weaknesses. Numbers can't speak for themselves, and data sets -- no matter their scale -- are still objects of human design. The tools of big-data science, such as the Apache Hadoop software framework, do not immunize us from skews, gaps, and faulty assumptions. Those factors are particularly significant when big data tries to reflect the social world we live in, yet we can often be fooled into thinking that the results are somehow more objective than human opinions. Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation. ...

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Glasgow to become UK’s first ‘smart city,’ will include facial recognition-enabled surveillance cameras

Glasgow to become UK’s first ‘smart city,’ will include facial recognition-enabled surveillance cameras | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Glasgow, Scotland is slated to become the first “smart city” in the United Kingdom after receiving a £24 million grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which will result in wonderful benefits like facial recognition for the city’s network of surveillance cameras. ...

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First Steps with Civic Analytics | Code for America

First Steps with Civic Analytics | Code for America | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Called “a geek squad of civic-minded number-crunchers” by the New York Times in a recent profile, the predictive analytics team led by City of New York’s Chief Analytics Officer Mike Flowers is pioneering new approaches in the field of civic data. Working out of the Mayor’s office — in concert with the efforts of our 2013 NYC Fellows and the local Brigade — this groundbreaking group of civic hackers inside City Hall is pushing forward some of the most innovative and effective uses of civic analytics — and they have the results to show for it. ...

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Mission Control, Built for Cities: IBM takes ‘Smarter Cities’ Concept to Rio de Janeiro

Mission Control, Built for Cities: IBM takes ‘Smarter Cities’ Concept to Rio de Janeiro | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

NOT far from Copacabana Beach here is a control room that looks straight out of NASA. ... I.B.M. has designed a new operations center for the city of Rio de Janeiro, coordinating all kinds of functions under one roof. The company hopes the project will lead to a huge worldwide business.

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Trash Talk: This Smart Bin Texts a Garbage Truck When Full | Environment on GOOD

Trash Talk: This Smart Bin Texts a Garbage Truck When Full | Environment on GOOD | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

We first covered BigBelly trash compactors a few years ago—check out the video below. Since then they've expanded rapidly, with more than 18,000 of these special trash cans now in use around the world. The bins work differently than regular garbage or recycling cans in a couple of key ways. First, they work as mini-compactors, crushing the trash in place so it takes much longer to fill up. As the can gets full, it sends text messages to waste collectors. The whole thing runs on solar power. ...

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Oh, the humanities! The Humanities and the Future of the University | Harvard Gazette

Oh, the humanities! The Humanities and the Future of the University | Harvard Gazette | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Humanities programs are in trouble in universities across the world — but hope prevails.

 

In 1979, federal grants for science were worth five times those for the humanities. By 1998, 33 times more. In 2011, 200 times more.

 

Meanwhile, the number of American bachelor’s degrees in disciplines such as language, history, and the classics has been declining for decades — from 14 percent in 1966 to 7 percent in 2010. At Harvard College, the trend is the same, though less steep: 17 percent of students are humanities concentrators today, down from 21 percent about a decade ago.

Interest in humanities degrees is declining according to other measures, too. For instance, the number of incoming freshmen at Harvard who say they will concentrate in the humanities drops 57 percent by the end of their third semester.

 

Against this backdrop, and a few weeks before Harvard releases a report on the state of the humanities, a panel of experts met Tuesday in front of a capacity crowd at Radcliffe Gymnasium. “The Humanities and the Future of the University,” convened by the Mahindra Humanities Center and funded by the Office of the President, explored ways of reviving interest in the reflexive and analytical disciplines that make up humanistic study. ...

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The Big Data Debate: Correlation vs. Causation | SmartData Collective

The Big Data Debate: Correlation vs. Causation | SmartData Collective | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Whether you use small or big data, your imagination (developing theories) and integrity (following the scientific method) are what counts.
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eGov AU: How open should open data be? Transport for NSW at the centre of a data controversy | eGov AU

Some will remember the knots that RailCorp tied itself into in 2009 when attempting to sue three developers for packaging Sydney rail timetables into mobile apps.

How things have changed. Recently the NSW government applauded one of those developers for his mobile app, which has reportedly been downloaded a million times.

However the agency which absorbed RailCorp, Transport for NSW, has now been thrust into the centre of another data controversy, with Fairfax's Ben Grubb reporting a row over how real-time transport data has been released.

The gist of the row is simple. Transport for NSW had worked with PWC to hold the ‘App Hot House’ competition  with a limited number of developers to see what they could do with its real-time data.

The outcome was several good apps, which are now available for the public and have been mentioned (some would say promoted) via various Transport for NSW websites, including 131500.com.au.

However the real-time data used in these apps has, thus far, only been made freely available to the developers who won the App Hot House competition. These developers are now selling th ...

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In the Programmable World, All Our Objects Will Act as One | Gadget Lab, Wired

In the Programmable World, All Our Objects Will Act as One | Gadget Lab, Wired | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
We are surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Soon we'll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, and even save our lives.
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The managerial humanities; or, Why the digital humanities don’t exist | Daniel Allington

As we all know, the digital humanities are the next big thing. A couple of years ago, I gave a presentation at a digital humanities colloquium, explaining what I saw as the major reasons for this (Allington, 2011). We are working within an economic system in which owners of capital (funders) invest in research speculatively purchased in advance from the owners of the means of knowledge production (universities), with permanent employees of the latter (what North Americans call ‘faculty’) playing the role of brokers between the two (both as writers and as reviewers of grant applications) and managing the precariously-employed sellers of labour (junior academics and support staff on temporary contracts) who actually get things done. Humanities research is traditionally cheap, which is bad from at least two points of view: funders want to save money by administering fewer, larger, grants, while universities want to see every department generating research income on a par with that pulled in by STEM centres. The digital humanities come to the rescue by being so conveniently expensive: they appear not merely to profit from but to require such costly things as computer hardware, server space, and specialised technical support staff who – in a further benefit from the point of view of the ethically-indifferent university – can be employed on fixed-term contracts, instantly disposed of when the period of funding comes to an end, and almost as instantly replaced once the next grant is landed. It didn’t have to be like this: computers can as easily reduce as increase the size of a research project. In the funding game, however, the goal is not quality, nor even efficiency, but only bigger and bigger contracts. This is the context within which the digital humanities have fashioned themselves from their less tiresomely glamorous predecessor, ‘humanities computing’. ...

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Facebook Is About To Launch A Huge Play In 'Big Data' Analytics

Facebook Is About To Launch A Huge Play In 'Big Data' Analytics | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Here are Facebook's Big Data moves in Q1:

Launched new advertising products such as Lookalike Audiences, Managed Custom Audiences, and Partner Categories, which help marketers improve their targeting capabilities on Facebook.Partnered with Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai to enable marketers to incorporate off Facebook purchasing data in order to deliver more relevant ads to users.Enhanced ability to measure advertiser ROI on digital media across the internet through our acquisition of the Atlas Advertising Suite.

The first two points underplay what Facebook is up to. Most people have no idea what Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and Bluekai actually do. Insiders, however, know that Facebook alliances with these companies give it one of the most powerful consumer databases on the planet.

 

Epsilon has data on 300 million company loyalty card members worldwide, and a databank on 250 million consumers in the U.S.Acxiom has "a comprehensive national database covering more than 126 million households and 190 million individuals."Datalogix says, "Our database contains more than $1 trillion in offline purchase-based data and we’re able to covert this data, and any CRM data, into an online universe."Bluekai is a data management platform — marketers bring their own data to those companies, and Bluekai will crunch it and turn it into a strategy for making marketing more effective.

 

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Rob van Kranenburg: Innovation in the crucible of development of Internet of Things | IoT Council

Internet of Things is at a crossroads. It can only work if citizens are willing to pay for services and investments in infrastructure, which can only happen if the use of novel business models will bring added value to old services or the development of totally new services. Value for everyday life and everyday activities must be shown. For instance energy efficiency pilots are encountering skeptical citizens who worry about privacy and to whom Climate Change is too far away to be a real driver for action. 

 

The key research issue that connects the different cultural contexts - Taiwan, Spain, Slovenia and China -is that the resistance towards sensor deployment in the home and immediate neighbourhood is hindering fast implementation as well as the possibility of citizen co- creation. In Social Issues of Power Harvesting in Home Environment, a Spanish neighbourhood case study, the Federated Network over a Non-federated space issue leads to the question:  

Will “user dependable” technologies get acceptance into homes?...

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Secrets of the Big Data Revolution: Jason Kolb, Jeremy Kolb: Currently free on Amazon.com

Secrets of the Big Data Revolution: Jason Kolb, Jeremy Kolb: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
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Researchers tap phone data to establish mobility patterns | IT News

Researchers tap phone data to establish mobility patterns | IT News | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

 

A group of international scientists have used mobile phone data to work out a set of standard human mobility patterns, which they argue could be used for urban planning and business analytics.  In a paper published today in The Royal Society journal Interface, the researchers, led by MIT’s Christian Schneider, argue the digital footprint left by mobile phone activity could be used to help substitute travel surveys. ...

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A Battle For Open Public Data In South Africa | Intellectual Property Watch

Cape Town, South Africa - Amid growing calls for the controversial Protection of State Information bill to be referred to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, open data activists are fighting a separate but related battle for government to release its data to the public...

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Smart cities? Glasgow and Barcelona show how | Sustainable Futures blog

Smart cities? Glasgow and Barcelona show how | Sustainable Futures blog | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The standard criticism of the smart city concept is that it's all talk and no action. Smart cities – based on ultra-efficient technologies and infrastructure responding to real-time data – seem to be always five to 10 years away. The recent event Delivering Smart Cities attempted to strip away the wishful thinking and look at what is happening in the world right now. And in the areas of inactivity, what can be done to overcome barriers...

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Applying Big Data to City Livability | Meeting of the Minds

Applying Big Data to City Livability | Meeting of the Minds | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

A number of progressive cities have made a wealth of data available to the public.  The intention generally is to improve access, accountability and transparency of government.  Thankfully, for citizens and consumers, an impressive network of software developers have grabbed the opportunity to deliver a vast array of applications allowing us to do everything from pay our bills, seek important but otherwise archaic information, entertain ourselves or just generally live our lives more conveniently.

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The Data Made Me Do It: The next frontier for big data is the individual | MIT Technology Review

The Data Made Me Do It: The next frontier for big data is the individual | MIT Technology Review | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Would you trade your personal data for a peek into the future? Andreas Weigend did.

 

The former chief scientist of Amazon.com, now directing Stanford University’s Social Data Lab, told me a story about awakening at dawn to catch a flight from Shanghai. That’s when an app he’d begun using, Google Now, told him his flight was delayed.

 

The software scours a person’s Gmail and calendar, as well as databases like maps and flight schedules. It had spotted the glitch in his travel plans and sent the warning that he shouldn’t rush. When Weigend finally boarded, everyone else on the plane had been waiting for hours for a spare part to arrive. ...

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Smart cites: Sustainable solutions for urban living | BBC

Smart cites: Sustainable solutions for urban living | BBC | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
The urban revolution is not just remarkable in scale, but also in the way cities are evolving. Buildings and systems are now responding to our shifting needs.
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20 Smart City Technologies for 2013 and Beyond

20 Smart City Technologies for 2013 and Beyond | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Santiago Chile announced they're going to become a "smart city" in 2013. Santiago is just one example of a growing number of areas around the globe preparing and modernizing for the future, in fact demographers have long predicted the mass urbanization of metropolitan areas across the world. According to the United Nations, by the year 2050, 80% of the world will be living in urban areas. The equivalent of seven Manhattan size cities will be built each year until 2050. For these cities to thrive they must use smart technology to its fullest. Let’s take a look at what’s available now and what’s coming down the pipe.

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