Author Archives: Rob Kitchin

Final ‘official’ day of Progcity project and thanks

Today is the last funded day of the Progcity project. Hard to believe that is five years since we started the research. It’s been a very fruitful endeavour and has fostered some very productive collaborations between the 16 researchers who have worked on the project at some point during it’s lifetime, producing a rich array of empirical material and an extensive range of published outputs, numerous presentations, an archive of over 150 videos from our seminars and workshops, and the Dublin Dashboard. The work, of course, will not stop, with the doctoral students to submit their theses and more books and papers to be written, and we’ll continue to maintain this blog and social media. In due course we hope to archive all of the c.500 interviews we have conducted and other research material so that others can re-use and mine our data. In addition, the research helped form the basis for a new SFI-funded investigator project, Building City Dashboards.

The main thing I wish to do at this point is to put some thank yous on the record.

First, I would like to thank the whole Progcity team – all the doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers and Rhona, the project administrator, who kept us on the bureaucratic straight-and-narrow. It has been a real pleasure to work with and learn from you all – hopefully Progcity has contributed to positively to your future careers and will continue to do so. Also, thanks to Chris, Aphra and Leighton who have co-supervised the doctoral students and contributed to the research.

Second, thanks to all the folks who took part in our fieldwork and interviews for sharing their expertise, insights and time. The kind of in-depth case studies we have been undertaking can only yield valuable ideas and knowledge through the generosity of participants and it has been really fascinating to listen to and work with you all, and learn from and translate your experiences and viewpoints.

Third, thanks to all those who helped facilitate the research at different sites, especially the Smart Dublin team, who have been a tremendous help. Conducting fieldwork is always reliant on the aid and goodwill of many people and we’ve been very fortunate across all our sub-projects to receive sound advice and practical help.

Fourth, thanks to all the admin staff in MUSSI, the university and the ERC who have helped us to administer the project. Running large EU-funded projects comes with a fairly sizable bureaucratic overhead and we have benefited from useful feedback and help over the life of Progcity.

Fifth, I am very grateful to other researchers in the university and the broader academic community who have taken an interest in the Progcity project – attending our seminars and workshops and discussing our research at events and via email/social media. Research is always a collaborative effort of dialogue and exchange and we have been very fortunate to interact with a very generous set of scholars. Hopefully your own research, like ours, is richer from our encounters and we’ll continue to learn from each other.

I am sure I have missed folks out that deserve our gratitude, so apologies if that’s the case, but rest assured your contributions have been appreciated.

While ‘officially’ we have reached the end of the road for Progcity, there’s a lot more paths to travel yet, so please continue to stop by the site as we keep producing outputs stamped with the ‘This research was funded by an ERC advanced investigator award, The Programmable City (ERC-2012-AdG-323636).’

Rob Kitchin

Lessons for smart cities from the Programmable City project

The Programmable City project will come to a close at the end of May 2018. To mark the occasion the project is hosting a final event in the Mansion House, Dublin on May 9th, 10am-2pm. At this we will present the main findings and recommendations from across the sub-projects to stakeholders. The focus will very much be on practical lessons for smart city development.

In total 16 researchers worked on the project at some point during its lifetime, mainly undertaken fieldwork in Dublin and Boston, but also other cities. A diverse range of smart city issues – open and big data, policy formulation, city standards, traffic control, testbeds, smart districts, bike share, smart energy, emergency management response, procurement by challenge, smart lighting, property development, hackathons, citizenship, work practices, governance, and ethical and security considerations – were investigated from a social, cultural, political, economic and ethical perspective through policy analysis, c. 500 interviews, and ethnographic research. In addition, part of the team built the Dublin Dashboard.

A number of team members have progressed to other academic posts around the world (Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Ireland, Taiwan, Wales) but all will be returning to Dublin to join the rest of the team to present their work through quick, snappy talks with time for questions. In addition, there will be a chance to view some of our latest dashboards work, with an AR/VR demo of 3D Dublin planning application.

We invite you to join us at this event to discover what lessons smart city developments might learn from our research.

Timetable:
10.00-10.30     Registration/Coffee
10.30-10.45     Welcome and overview of project
10.45-11.30     Session 1: Open/big data, city dashboards, city standards, work practices
11.30-12.15    Session 2: Emergency management response, smart lighting, procurement by challenge, traffic control room, smart district, property development
12.15-13.00     Session 3: Bike share, smart energy, citizenship, hackathons, governance, ethics
13.00-13.15     Smart Dublin
13.15-14.00     Lunch and AR/VR demos of new Building City Dashboards project

Please register for this free event via Eventbrite here

New working paper: Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have published a new Programmable City working paper (No. 39) via OSF: Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe

Abstract

This paper examines the neoliberal ideals that underpin participation and citizenship in the smart city and their replication mechanisms at European level. We examine self-proclaimed ‘citizen-focus’ projects funded by or aligned to the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) by way of analysing policy documents and interviews with key stakeholders of smart city initiatives at European level and the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona (SCEWC 2017). We suggest that smart cities as currently conceived enact a blueprint of neoliberal urbanism and promote a form of neoliberal citizenship. Supra-national institutions like the EIP-SCC act at a multi-scalar level, connecting diverse forms of neoliberal urbanism while promoting policy agendas and projects that perform neoliberal citizenship in the spaces of the everyday. Despite attempts to recast the smart city as ‘citizen-focused’, smart urbanism remains rooted in pragmatic, instrumental and paternalistic discourses and practices rather than those of social rights, political citizenship, and the common good. In our view, if smart cities are to become truly ‘citizen-focused’ an alternative conception of smart citizenship needs to be deployed, one that enables an effective shift of power and is rooted in rights, entitlements, community, participation, commons, and ideals beyond the market.

Key words: citizenship, smart cities, smart citizens, neoliberalism, European Union

Special issue: Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies | Tecnoscienza

A new issue of Tecnoscienza edited by Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy, Sung-Yueh Perng (all of the Progcity project) and Laurie Waller has just been published, titled: “Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies”. Contents are:

Introduction

Data-driven Cities? Digital Urbanism and its Proxies: Introduction PDF
Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy, Sung-Yueh Perng, Laurie Waller 5-18

Lectures

The Realtimeness of Smart Cities PDF
Rob Kitchin 19-42
Ordinary Smart Cities. How Calculated Users, Professional Citizens, Technology Companies and City Administrations Engage in a More-than-digital Politics PDF
Ignacio Farías, Sarah Widmer 43-60

Essays

The Urban Stack. A Topology for Urban Data Infrastructures PDF
Aaron Shapiro 61-80
Discovering the Data-driven City. Breakdown and Literacy in the Installation of the Elm Sensor Network PDF
Darren J. Reed 81-104
How to Design the Internet of Buildings? An Agile Design Process for Making the Good City PDF
David Hick, Adam Urban, Jörg Rainer Noennig 105-128
DIO: A Surveillance Camera Mapping Game for Mobile Devices PDF
Rafael de Almeida Evangelista, Tiago C. Soares, Sarah Costa Schmidt, Felipe Lavignatti 129-150

Scenarios

Rethinking the Spaces of Standardisation through the Concept of Site PDF
James Merricks White 151-174

Crossing Boundaries

Data Platforms and Cities PDF
Anders Blok, Antoine Courmont, Rolien Hoyng, Clément Marquet, Kelton Minor, Christian Nold, Meg Young 175-220

New paper: Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have a new paper published in GeoJournal – “Being a ‘citizen’ in the smart city: Up and down the scaffold of smart citizen participation in Dublin, Ireland.” The paper is available to view at Springer’s Shareit site (though the PDF to download is behind a paywall).

Abstract

Reacting to critiques that the smart city is overly technocratic and instrumental, companies and cities have reframed their initiatives as ‘citizen-centric’. However, what ‘citizen-centric’ means in practice is rarely articulated. We draw on and extend Sherry Arnstein’s seminal work on participation in planning and renewal programmes to create the ‘Scaffold of Smart Citizen Participation’—a conceptual tool to unpack the diverse ways in which the smart city frames citizens. We use this scaffold to measure smart citizen inclusion, participation, and empower-
ment in smart city initiatives in Dublin, Ireland. Our analysis illustrates how most ‘citizen-centric’ smart city initiatives are rooted in stewardship, civic paternalism, and a neoliberal conception of citizenship that prioritizes consumption choice and individual autonomy within a framework of state and corporate defined constraints that prioritize market-led solutions to urban issues, rather than being grounded in civil, social and political rights and the common good. We conclude that significant normative work is required to rethink ‘smart citizens’ and ‘smart citizenship’ and to remake smart cities if they are to truly become ‘citizen-centric’.

Keywords: Smart city, Citizens, Participation, Engagement, Citizenship, Rights

 

Culture File’s Slow Computing Week

Culture File on Ireland’s Lyric FM, hosted by Luke Clancy, have dedicated this week to Slow Computing based on our workshop held late last year. Every evening, Monday 15th to Friday 19th January, 2018, at 6.05pm GMT, plus a special edition of Culture File on Friday 19th at 7pm, they’ll be a discussion on various aspects of computing and its effects on everyday life and how people can take back control and practice slow computing.  All of the segments will be available on Soundcloud after broadcast. The programs will feature interviews with Aphra Kerr, Rob Kitchin, Alistair Fraser, Stephanie Milan, Adi Kuntsman, Esperanza Miyake, and Lindsay Ems.

Rob Kitchin