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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The case for a new landscape science | Places

The case for a new landscape science | Places | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Landscape architects have begun to venture from the confines of garden, park, and plaza into more adventurous practice. Now the field needs a new name: landscape science.
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Is the Sharing Economy Making Cities Less Cooperative? | Zocalo

Is the Sharing Economy Making Cities Less Cooperative? | Zocalo | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

These days every city claims to be a “smart” city, or is becoming one, with heavy investments in modern information and computing technology to attract businesses and make the city competitive.  But when mayors and developers focus on technology rather than people, smart quickly becomes stupid, threatening to exacerbate inequality and undermine the social cooperation essential to successful cities. After researching leading cities around the world, we’ve concluded that truly smart cities will be those that deploy modern technology in building a new urban commons to support communal sharing.....

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Smart Cities | Navigant Research

City leaders all over the world have embraced the smart city concept with enthusiasm. They are heralding innovative projects and laying out a vision for how cities can use technology to meet sustai...
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Trying to Live in the Moment (and Not on the Phone) | NY Times

Trying to Live in the Moment (and Not on the Phone) | NY Times | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

By providing a scoreboard of our smartphone use, new apps may help us change our ways.

 

There’s a scene in the movie “Her,” a love story between a lonely writer and an artificially intelligent software program, that shows dozens of people riding the subway, deeply absorbed in their smartphones, oblivious to the world around them. They all seem much more comfortable interacting with their devices than with one another. That scene was disturbingly familiar — and seeing it from afar cast it in an unsettling light.

 

Since seeing the film, I’ve been more attuned to how often I use my phone. But it’s hard for me to tell whether I’m using it too much. ...

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This Algorithm Predicts A Neighborhood's Crime Rate Using Google Street View | Co.Labs

This Algorithm Predicts A Neighborhood's Crime Rate Using Google Street View | Co.Labs | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Every day we make complex inferences based on our surroundings. Is that a safe street to walk down? Is the nearest McDonald’s to the left? We use a contextual understanding of, and judgments about, our environment to look beyond merely the “visual scene” and decide what stores and services we expect to find nearby, and even the likely economic climate of the neighborhood.

 

Now a computer can do the same thing by simply looking at a picture from Google Street View.

 

A deep learning project by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) fed 8 million images from Google Street View into an algorithm. The result is a computer that can accurately predict the distance to the nearest McDonald’s in the fewest steps possible, and the crime rate of an area, by looking at an image....

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Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users | Guardian

Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users | Guardian | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

‘Confessional’ app follows some users even after they have asked not to be tracked.

 

The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

 

The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

 

Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws. ...

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Are smart cities really that smart? | RIBAJ

Are smart cities really that smart? | RIBAJ | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The term ‘smart cities’ has come to dominate how the cities of the future are envisioned and described by policy makers, urban planners and technology suppliers.  They see the cities of the future as global and strategic, able to operate a seamless platform of infrastructure and services built on a substrate of pervasive technology that can sense and control the environment. The pursuit of automation in decision-making is feeding the fetish for city data acquired in real time to manage all aspects of urban living, including energy, waste, transport, education, law and order and more recently citizenship and governance. ...

 

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A Slow Smart City: Bangalore's $6 Billion Traffic Headache

A Slow Smart City: Bangalore's $6 Billion Traffic Headache | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The annual cost to local IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Bangalore reaches as much as US$6.5 billion annually.  

India’s fifth largest city, Bangalore, deserves much of the credit and attention for India’s economic transformation the past 20 years. Home to massive information technology companies including Wipro and Infosys, the Bangalore metropolitan area contributes as much as one-third of India’s IT exports. Many global companies, including SAP, have long set up shop in Bangalore. Many of the technologies that are part of the foundation of the “smart cities” movement underway worldwide have a base in Bangalore. But as in the case of other cities throughout India, being stuck in traffic gives the feeling one is anywhere but a “smart city.”....

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EU funds Smart Cities and Communities initiative to transform urban districts to smart quarters | Science Daily

EU funds Smart Cities and Communities initiative to transform urban districts to smart quarters | Science Daily | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The European Commission has nominated the Triangulum project, led by Fraunhofer IAO and with the support of the Steinbeis-Europa Zentrum (SEZ), to be the lead project for the Smart Cities and Communities initiative. This project will transform designated urban districts into smart quarters in three forerunner cities and then transfer the concepts to three further cities. 23 European partners from urban municipalities, research, and industry are involved.

 

For its concept to develop smart urban districts, a consortium will develop a strategic partnership under the auspices of the Smart Cities and Communities initiative and will be led by Fraunhofer IAO. The project name Triangulum stands for the three points demonstrate, disseminate and reciprocate. The project will implement pioneering concepts in the three cities of Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands), and Stavanger (Norway) with support from the European Union. Subsequently, the concepts will be transferred to Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), and Sabadell (Spain). ...

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View From Nowhere: On the cultural ideology of Big Data | New Inquiry

View From Nowhere: On the cultural ideology of Big Data | New Inquiry | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Modernity has long been obsessed with, perhaps even defined by, its epistemic insecurity, its grasping toward big truths that ultimately disappoint as our world grows only less knowable. New knowledge and new ways of understanding simultaneously produce new forms of nonknowledge, new uncertainties and mysteries. The scientific method, based in deduction and falsifiability, is better at proliferating questions than it is at answering them. For instance, Einstein’s theories about the curvature of space and motion at the quantum level provide new knowledge and generates new unknowns that previously could not be pondered.

 

Since every theory destabilizes as much as it solidifies in our view of the world, the collective frenzy to generate knowledge creates at the same time a mounting sense of futility, a tension looking for catharsis — a moment in which we could feel, if only for an instant, that we know something for sure. In contemporary culture, Big Data promises this relief. ...

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Open Data Beyond the Big City | Mediashift | PBS

Open Data Beyond the Big City | Mediashift | PBS | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
This guest post is an expanded version of a talk Mark Headd gave recently at the Code for America Summit. The video from the talk is embedded at the bottom. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here. “The future is already here -- it’s just not evenly distributed.” --William Gibson.
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Chicago uses big data to save itself from urban ills | New Scientist

Chicago uses big data to save itself from urban ills | New Scientist | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
The Windy City is using sophisticated predictive models to pinpoint risk areas and help it reduce everything from rat problems to cases of lead poisoning
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China's internet giants battle over big data consumer finance

China's internet giants battle over big data consumer finance | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Internet finance in China has become a hot industry for third-party payment, wealth management and small loans, all centered around consumer finance. Internet giants such as Jingdong Mall are using big data to find news way to create demand and innovative products, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News.

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Why Hasn’t ‘Big Data’ Saved Democracy? | The Nation

Why Hasn’t ‘Big Data’ Saved Democracy? | The Nation | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
Micah Sifry’s new book offers some answers, but misses important shifts in the power base of traditional progressive organizing.
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How to Pay for Your Smart City? | FutureGov

Download the 'Smart Cities Financing Guide’ - free for a limited period! Claim your FREE digital copy of ‘Smart Cities Financing Guide’ now. By downloading this report, you agree you may be contacted by our report sponsor. Expert analysis of 28 municipal finance tools for city leaders investing in the future, developed by the Centre for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University and the Smart Cities Council.   This 104-page report provides you with all the answers you need to finance your Smart City vision . . .
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Re-imagining Cities. Technology as a way to re-design public institutions and re-imagine governance

Re-imagining Cities. Technology as a way to re-design public institutions and re-imagine governance | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

From Philadelphia to Berlin to Singapore: data is changing the way citizens and businesses live in and interact with their urban surroundings. The city is emerging as a new platform, allowing citizen-stakeholders to reengineer their geographies in real time and, together, co-create the urban realities in which they live (or wish to live). ...


Via Manu Fernandez
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Chicago's smart city: From open data to rat control | ZDNet

Chicago's smart city: From open data to rat control | ZDNet | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

To become a smart city, Chicago has recognised the need to pool all data sources into one publicly available platform.

 

"For us in Chicago, it all starts with data. For Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel, everything comes back to data," City of Chicago CIO Brenna Berman said.

 

Speaking at the Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Chicago on Wednesday, Berman said that open data forms the basis of all of the city's work in building up to becoming a smart city. Over 600 datasets in human- and machine-readable format are available now on the city's website, ranging from all crimes reported in the city from 2001 up until the prior week, water quality data, 311 call data, licensing data, and permit data.

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Google wants to turn urbanites into beta testers of a ‘Physical Web’ | Washington Post

Google wants to turn urbanites into beta testers of a ‘Physical Web’ | Washington Post | The Programmable City | Scoop.it
From networked parking meters to small offline stores with mirrored digital presences, Google's plans for 'the Physical Web' are intensely urban.
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What Rem Koolhaas Thinks of Smart Cities and The New Apple Campus | Architizer

Rem Koolhaas sat down at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco in a very traditional American talk-show format to discuss some American phenomenons, most notably smart homes, smart cities, and the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. ....

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A New Smart City Cloud Platform in Boston | StateTech

A New Smart City Cloud Platform in Boston | StateTech | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

A new cloud-based smart city system being developed in Boston could be a model for other state and local governments.

The project is called SCOPE, and it stands for Smart-city Cloud-based Open Platform & Eco-system. Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering is spearheading the project in collaboration with several private-sector firms and multiple state and local agencies, including Massachusetts’ lead agency for technology — MassIT — and the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization.

SCOPE’s primary goal is to “develop and implement smart-city services that aim to improve the quality of urban life”...

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Aspern - The Efficient City Next Door: a test-bed city for smart technologies

Aspern - The Efficient City Next Door: a test-bed city for smart technologies | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Vienna is engineering a nearby city where the buildings and power supply are so interconnected that synergistic effects are created. The vision: A world-class research project in a real environment, where the energy-saving technologies needed for the city of tomorrow can be analyzed and optimized.

At first glance, an abandoned airfield on the northeastern outskirts of Vienna, Austria may seem like a strange place to build a research center. But then again, this research center is going to need a lot of elbow room — enough, in fact, for about 20,000 people. That’s because the subject of the research will be a city — perhaps the first ever to be built so that scientists and urban planners can learn how buildings, renewable energy sources, local electrical distribution networks, and the entire grid can optimize their interactions in order to maximize their efficiency  and minimize their collective energy use. ...

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Europe to get €2.5 billion big data boost from Commission for industry research | CIO

Europe to get €2.5 billion big data boost from Commission for industry research | CIO | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Europe is lagging behind and urgently needs a big data investment to get on the bandwagon, Neelie Kroes said.  Companies including Atos, IBM, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Orange, SAP, and Siemens, along with several research bodies, will invest in the public-private partnership (PPP) from January 2015. ...

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No Room For Digital Humanities in Philosophy?

No Room For Digital Humanities in Philosophy? | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

Throughout my tenure as a Digital Fellow, I have struggled to relate the projects I’ve been working on and the tools and skills I have been learning to my philosophical pursuits.  This has always bothered me. Why haven’t I been able to see the philosophical import in Digital Humanities projects?  The projects developed within the Digital Humanities are often built upon the same objects of inquiry that philosophical theories grapple with: knowledge, identity, communication, language, logic, etc.  Scholarly research in the Digital Humanities employs the same rigorous dedication to methodology that philosophical research does.  But those who are doing the most research and taking on the majority of projects in the Digital Humanities are not philosophers.  In fact, there is a notable absence of philosophers in the Digital Humanities, and a significant underrepresentation of the Digital Humanities in Philosophy. So…

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Whither the Internet of Things? | Phys.org

The Internet of Things – IoT – it's a phrase we hear more and more, often hyped, often discussed seriously in the context of cloud computing but definitely a buzz phrase. Put simply, it is the connection of 'smart' (and otherwise) devices, washing machines, refrigerators, scanners and printers, 

, health monitoring devices, environmental sensors, earthquake and tsunami early warning systems, and much more to the Internet so that they can provide a service as a whole, being accessed, calibrated and controlled remotely from a browser window or mobile device.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-internet.html#jCp
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In pursuit of smartness | The Hindu

In pursuit of smartness | The Hindu | The Programmable City | Scoop.it

The dream of the ‘smart city’ is a morally and socially indefensible one in a hierarchical society, in which the quest for meeting the basic needs of citizens has been all but abandoned.

 

The “smart” phone moment passed me by, since I was determined to maintain my edge over a mere inanimate object. But the new and eager call for “smart” cities is too intriguing to let pass without reflection and comment. The call to “smarten” Indian cities has gone beyond the tired old promises of clearing garbage, building more housing for the poor, providing drinking water, guaranteeing electricity supply and better roads. Instead, it sets its goals high — placing hope entirely on creating a new urban space consisting of hot spots, continuous and seamless wifi access, sensors which alert you about impending traffic jams or tell you how to curtail water wastage and bring every household onto a smart e-grid. It hopes to leverage and mobilise technology to improve energy consumption and waste management, clear congestion, allocate scarce resources wisely, provide Internet connectivity and infrastructure to enable ease of access and movement. Sometimes, a few other desirables have been thrown in such as healthcare and good governance....

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