Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have a new working paper (no. 39), Smart urbanism and smart citizenship: The neoliberal logic of ‘citizen-focused’ smart cities in Europe. Available on SocArXiv via Open Science Framework.

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.

Paper DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/XUGB5

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

Algorhythmic governance: Regulating the ‘heartbeat’ of a city using the Internet of Things

A paper by Claudio Coletta and Rob Kitchin, ‘Algorhythmic governance: Regulating the ‘heartbeat’ of a city using the Internet of Things’ has been published in Big Data and Society as part of a special section on ‘Algorithms in Culture’.  It is open access.

Abstract

To date, research examining the socio-spatial effects of smart city technologies have charted how they are reconfiguring the production of space, spatiality and mobility, and how urban space is governed, but have paid little attention to how the temporality of cities is being reshaped by systems and infrastructure that capture, process and act on real-time data. In this article, we map out the ways in which city-scale Internet of Things infrastructures, and their associated networks of sensors, meters, transponders, actuators and algorithms, are used to measure, monitor and regulate the polymorphic temporal rhythms of urban life. Drawing on Lefebvre, and subsequent research, we employ rhythmanalysis in conjunction with Miyazaki’s notion of ‘algorhythm’ and nascent work on algorithmic governance, to develop a concept of ‘algorhythmic governance’. We then use this framing to make sense of two empirical case studies: a traffic management system and sound monitoring and modelling. Our analysis reveals: (1) how smart city technologies computationally perform rhythmanalysis and undertake rhythm-making that intervenes in space-time processes; (2) distinct forms of algorhythmic governance, varying on the basis of adaptiveness, immediacy of action, and whether humans are in-, on-, or, off-the-loop; (3) and a number of factors that shape how algorhythmic governance works in practice.

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Workshop: Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments

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Mark Dorf, Nebulous08 (2015) http://mdorf.com

When: 30th May 2017 – 9.30am to 3.30pm
Where: Maynooth University, Iontas Building, Seminar Room 2.31

The “Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments” workshop is part of the Ulysses research exchange programme jointly funded by Irish Research Council and the Ambassade de France. It is organized in collaboration with researchers from the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation (i3-CSI) at the École des Mines in Paris – David Pontille, Félix Talvard, Clément Marquet and Brice Laurent – and researchers from the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) in Maynooth University, Ireland – Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy and Sung-Yueh Perng.

The aim is to initiate a transdisciplinary discussion on the theoretical, methodological and empirical issues related to experimental and data-driven approaches to urban development and living. This conversation is vital in a time when cities are increasingly turning into public-private testbeds and living labs, where urban development projects merge with the design of cyber-infrastructures to test new services and new forms of engagement for urban innovation and economic development. These new forms of interaction between algorithms, planning practices and governance processes raise crucial questions for researchers on how everyday life, civic engagement and urban change are shaped in contemporary cities.

Some of the questions that the workshop seeks to address are:

  • What data are generated by cities in the context of smart cities and their core services? For whom are these data created and on what infrastructure are they dependent?
  • How are experiments and demonstrations for urban change organised and accounted for? Are they part of a story of continuity or disruption in urban innovation?
  • How do new forms of engagement take place? How do they reconfigure or subsume the public into private or vice versa?
  • How are the publics affected and how do they take part in this process? Which forms of citizenship, community or work are performed?
  • How do data and experiments affect urban management, governance practices and everyday life?
  • How do the economic arrangements and forms of public-private collaboration transform?

Format:

The workshop consists of three sessions:

In the first session, the organizers will present 6 joint papers delineating the issues above with case studies involving Singapore, Medellín, Bogotá, Dublin, San Francisco and Boston.

After the lunch break, in the second session, there will be a workshop that focuses discussion on the implications of experimental/data-driven urbanism, and the new forms of engagement in smart cities. Participants will be divided into groups and the discussion will be facilitated by the organizers.

Finally, the discussion will be wrapped up by organizers and a final report will be edited and shared among participants afterwards.

After the workshop, we will take the train to Dublin at 4pm for an informal guided trip to visit the actual sites of smart city development.

Who can attend:

The workshop is open to researchers, academics, practitioners and policymakers

How to attend:

Please fill out this google form with some personal details and a few lines about your interest in the workshop. Attendance is free with thanks to our sponsors and limited to 30 participants.

If you have questions please contact claudio.coletta@nuim.ie or mussi@nuim.ie

Our Sponsors and Supporters:

The Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments workshop is made possible by generous support from the Irish Reseach Council, the Ambassade de France and Maynooth University Social Science Institute (MUSSI).

Speakers

Claudio Coletta is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Maynooth University, working as part of the ERC funded Programmable City Project. His research focus is on urban phenomena at the intersection between technology, organizations and practices, explored through qualitative methods. His current interests address automated urban management, temporalities of smart city development, experimental urbanism and procurement.

Liam Heaphy is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Maynooth University on the ERC-funded Programmable City Project. He has a background in social sciences, with an interest in science and technology studies, architecture and history, and information science. His current work looks at the relationship between urban infrastructure and smart technologies, examining how smart city discourses relate to other drivers such as environmental efficiency, transport, and place-making initiatives.

Brice Laurent is a senior researcher at the Centre de Sociologie de l’innovation in Paris. His work focuses on the relationships between science and democracy. He has been involved in projects related to the politics of technoscience, particularly in European regulatory bodies and, more recently, urban innovation. He leads a research project called CitEx, which studies City Experiments through a variety of case studies.

Clément Marquet is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Télécom ParisTech, in Paris. His research focuses on the many roles played by digital technologies in reconfiguring urban assemblages, through three case studies concerning mobility of disabled persons, public participation and data centers implementation.

Sung-Yueh Perng is a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC funded Programmable City project in the Natinoal Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis and Social Sciences Institute at Maynooth University. His current research focuses on digital urban life and governance and examines distributed, collaborative and embodied practices in civic hacking and self-quantifying techniques in Dublin and Boston as case studies. He received his PhD in Sociology from Lancaster University, UK.

David Pontille is a senior researcher at the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation in Paris (CNRS UMR 9217). His interests focus on writing practices, the technologies of research evaluation, the politics of maintenance, and infrastructures dedicated to urban mobility.

Félix Talvard is a PhD candidate at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation in Paris. His dissertation, based on fieldwork in France, Colombia and the United States, focuses on urban experiments with technologies and practices of mobility. It aims at understanding the transformations of urban governance that such projects entail, including new modes of intervention for private and non-governmental actors.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

9:30: coffee and registration

9.45-10: Introduction – Why smart cities and why data and experiments (Claudio Coletta and David Pontille)

10-11: Reshaping urban engagement and publics through data and experiments 1 (Chair: Reka Peterksak, Business School, Maynooth University)

  • Economic arrangements and forms of public-private collaboration in Medellin (Félix Talvard)
  • Data and Experiments as time devices: SBIR, Testbedding and real-time management in Dublin (Claudio Coletta)

11-12: Reshaping urban engagement and publics through data and experiments 2 (Chair: Aphra Kerr, Department of Sociology, MUSSI, Maynooth University)

  • Unpacking hacking events and techniques (Sung-Yueh Perng)
  • Internet is at the corner: Experiencing and making sense of data centers in Paris northern suburb (Clément Marquet)

Break

12.15-13.15: Reshaping research and approaches in data driven and experimental urbanism (Chair: Jeneen Naji, Department of Media Studies, Maynooth University)

  • Reflexivity in engaged research (Liam Heaphy)
  • Investigating city experiments (Brice Laurent & David Pontille)

13.15-14: Lunch Break

14-14.45: workshop session

15.00: Wrap-up and closing remarks

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Slides for Design, Aesthetics, Politics and Urban Lives

The slides shared below were for a talk entitled Design, Aesthetics, Politics and Urban Lives given at the event People, Cities and Urban Interaction Design on 9 March, organised by Interaction Design Association Dublin. Anja Maerz and Lucy Barrett from Future Cities Catapult together gave a very interesting talk, sharing their experiences of and reflections on their engagements with citizens for improving their experiences of living in cities in different parts of the world.

My talk focused on Dublin, particularly DCC Beta, PyLadies, Coding Grace and Code for Ireland, making the point that how we anticipate future now, in our everyday life and with diverse social worlds can have consequential effects on how futures might come about, a point drawing on the always inspirational sociology, John Urry. If you are interested, here are the slides:

New paper: The ethics of smart cities and urban science

A new paper by Rob Kitchin has been published in Philosophical Transactions A titled ‘The ethics of smart cities and urban science’ in a special issue on ‘The ethical impact of data science’.

Abstract

Software-enabled technologies and urban big data have become essential to the functioning of cities. Consequently, urban operational governance and city services are becoming highly responsive to a form of data-driven urbanism that is the key mode of production for smart cities. At the heart of data-driven urbanism is a computational understanding of city systems that reduces urban life to logic and calculative rules and procedures, which is underpinned by an instrumental rationality and realist epistemology. This rationality and epistemology are informed by and sustains urban science and urban informatics, which seek to make cities more knowable and controllable. This paper examines the forms, practices and ethics of smart cities and urban science, paying particular attention to: instrumental rationality and realist epistemology; privacy, datafication, dataveillance and geosurveillance; and data uses, such as social sorting and anticipatory governance. It argues that smart city initiatives and urban science need to be re-cast in three ways: a re-orientation in how cities are conceived; a reconfiguring of the underlying epistemology to openly recognize the contingent and relational nature of urban systems, processes and science; and the adoption of ethical principles designed to realize benefits of smart cities and urban science while reducing pernicious effects.

The paper is behind a paywall, so if you don’t have access and you’re interested in reading email Rob (rob.kitchin@nuim.ie) and he’ll send you a copy.