Monthly Archives: February 2014

Official launch of Programmable City project, 25th March 2014

The Programmable City project will be officially launched on the 25th March 2014, with an all day event in Renehan Hall in NUI Maynooth.  There’s a really great line-up of speakers, so hopefully you’ll consider joining us to learn more about the project and about smart cities, ubiquitous computing, big data and how software is reshaping urban life. Complete bios and abstracts are availble here.

Be sure to RSVP via EventBrite!


9:45: Tea/coffee

10.10-10.30: The Programmable City
Rob Kitchin, PI Programmable City Project, NIRSA, NUIM

10.30-11.30: Software and Cities
Matthew Wilson (Harvard University) Quantified Self-City-Nation
Martin Dodge (University of Manchester) Code and Conveniences

11.30-12.30: Data and Cities
Tim Reardon (Assistant Director of Data Services, MAPC, Boston) Putting Data to Work in Metro Boston
Tracey P. Lauriault (Programmable City team) A Genealogy of Open Data Assemblages

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.00: Launch
Sean Sherlock, TD., Minister for Research and Innovation and Prof. Bernard Mahon, Vice-President for Research NUIM

14.00-15.00 Smart Cities
Siobhan Clarke (Trinity College Dublin) ICT-Enabled Behavioural Change in Smart Cities
Adam Greenfield (London School of Economics) Another City is Possible: Networked Urbanism from Above and Below

15.00-15.45: The Programmable City project
Snapshots of Programmable City PhD/Postdoc projects
Gavin McArdle – Dublin City Dashboard

15.45-16.00 Closing remarks
Peter Finnegan, Director of International Research and Relations, Dublin City Council
Rob Kitchin, PI Programmable City project

Be sure to RSVP via EventBrite!

Parking information can be found at

Programmable City researcher receives RIA Gold Medal

On Thursday, 20th February, Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal to ERC Advanced Investigator on the Programmable City project, Professor Rob Kitchin, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Social Sciences. Professor Colin O’Dowd, NUI Galway, was also presented with a Gold Medal for the Environmental and Geosciences.

The RIA Gold Medals are awarded to two outstanding academics each year and are recognised as a truly national expression of celebration for scholarly achievement. The medals are sponsored by The Higher Education Authority.

In presenting the medals the Taoiseach congratulated the medallists on their many achievements and paid tribute to the RIA for providing a platform to celebrate academia and the role it plays in our society and economy, saying: “Education and innovation are central to the Government’s ambition of achieving economic recovery and the creation of jobs. The education and training system is a critical part of our recovery and growth. That is why, among the wide range of measures to boost job creation and improve the environment for business, R&D forms a central pillar of our Action Plan for Jobs.”

Speaking about the award Professor Philip Nolan, President of NUI Maynooth, said “The academic community at Maynooth is immensely proud to see Professor Rob Kitchin’s important and valuable work recognised by this exceptionally prestigious award. His work is exemplary, and shows how fundamental research in the social and spatial sciences has direct relevance to our daily lives and public policy. Through scholarly work and public commentary, he has helped us understand our world and how we live in it, and how we might best respond to our current crises to create a better society.”

The awarding of the medal was covered in The Irish Times.

Photo credit: The Irish Times

Seminar 4: Citizens, Data, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things – Revisiting the City

Hi everyone,

For our next seminar, we have invited Dr Andy Hudson-Smith to discussion Citizens, Data, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things!

Time: 16:00 – 18:00, Wednesday, 2 April, 2014
Venue: Room 2.31, 2nd Floor Iontas Building, North Campus NUI Maynooth (Map)

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few (IBM, 2103). This data can, compared to traditional data sources, be defined as ‘big’. Cities and urban environments are the main sources for big data, every minute 100,000 tweets are sent globally, Google receives 2,000,000 search requests and users share 684,478 pieces of content on Facebook (Mashable, 2012). An increasingly amount of this data stream is geolocated, from Check-ins via Foursquare through to Tweets and searches via Google Now, the data cities and individuals emit can be collected and viewed to make the data city visible, aiding our understanding of now only how urban systems operate but opening up the possibility of a real-time view of the city at large (Hudson-Smith, 2013). The talk explores systems such as The City Dashboard ( and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in terms of data collection, visualization and analysis. Joining these up creates a move towards the Smart City and via innovations in IoT a look towards augmented reality pointing towards the the creation of a ‘Smart Citizen’, ‘the Quantified Self’ and ultimately a Smart City.

IBM (2103), Big Data at the Speed of Business,
Mashable (2012), How Much Data is Created Every Minute,
Hudson-Smith (2013) – Tagging and Tracking, Architectural Design, 01, 2014, High Definition, Zero Tolerance in Design and Production.

Speaker bio
Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith is Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at The Bartlett, University College London. Andy is a Reader in Digital Urban Systems and Editor-in-Chief of Future Internet Journal, he is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Greater London Authority Smart London Board and Course Founder of the MRes in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation and MSc in Smart Cities at University College London.


The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism

An extended version of a Programmable City working paper, with two new sections, has been published in GeoJournal (visit GeoJournal website or Download).

Kitchin, R. (2014) The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism.  GeoJournal 79(1): 1-14.

‘Smart cities’ is a term that has gained traction in academia, business and government to describe cities that, on the one hand, are increasingly composed of and monitored by pervasive and ubiquitous computing and, on the other, whose economy and governance is being driven by innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, enacted by smart people. This paper focuses on the former and, drawing on a number of examples, details how cities are being instrumented with digital devices and infrastructure that produce ‘big data’. Such data, smart city advocates argue enables real-time analysis of city life, new modes of urban governance, and provides the raw material for envisioning and enacting more efficient, sustainable, competitive, productive, open and transparent cities. The final section of the paper provides a critical reflection on the implications of big data and smart urbanism, examining five emerging concerns: the politics of big urban data, technocratic governance and city development, corporatisation of city governance and technological lock-ins, buggy, brittle and hackable cities, and the panoptic city.

Seminar 3: Sustainable Connected Cities and the London Living Labs Project

The Programmable City Project is happy to welcome Dr David Prendergast who will discuss Sustainable Connected Cities and the London Living Labs Project.

Time: 16:00 – 18:00, Wednesday, 19 February, 2014

Venue: Room 2.31, 2nd Floor Iontas Building, North Campus NUI Maynooth (Map)


Abstract: Cities offer many opportunities to innovate with technologies, from the infrastructures that underlie the sewers, to computing in the cloud. How though can we integrate the technological, economic and social needs of cities in ways that are sustainable and human-centred? How do we inform, develop and evaluate systems and services that enhance the quality of city life for diverse publics? This talk discusses the approach taken by the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities and provides an overview of key projects including the ambitious London Living Labs programme conducted in association with the UK Future Cities Catapult.

Bio: Dr David Prendergast is a social anthropologist and a Principal Investigator in the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities with Imperial College and University College London. He also holds the position of Visiting Professor of Healthcare Innovation at Trinity College Dublin. His research over the last fifteen years has focused on later life-course transitions and he has authored a number of books and articles on ageing, health, technology and social relationships. During his career David has been involved in several major research projects including: a multi-year ethnography of intergenerational relationships and family change in South Korea; the provision of paid home care services in Ireland; a three year ESRC study into death, dying and bereavement in England and Scotland; and Intel’s Global Ageing Project which explored the expectations and experiences of growing older around the world. After receiving his PhD from Cambridge University, Dr Prendergast held research posts at the University of Sheffield, and Trinity College Dublin.