Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

control room 2

Workshop: Reshaping Cities through Data and Experiments

nebulous08

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

logos

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.

Working Paper 3: Republic of Ireland's Open Data Strategy: Observations and Recommendations

Republic of Ireland’s Open Data Strategy: Observations and Recommendations

Tracey P. Lauriault, Programmable City Project, NIRSA, National University of Ireland Maynooth, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland

The Programmable City Working Paper 3 (Complete Working Paper is available here)

Executive Summary

Working Paper 3 of the Programmable City Project is a response to the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Public Expenditures and Reform (DPER) Open Data launch and the reports produced by Insight at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), who were awarded the contract from a government call for tender (CfT).  The Working Paper provides background context to the open data plan and critically considers governance; infrastructure; records management as well as information management and information technology (IM/IT); Legal, policy and ethical frameworks; public engagement; data curation; data dissemination and publication, and evaluation.  The Paper proposes reconceptualizing open data as a function of government record keeping, information management, shared services and national spatial data infrastructures as opposed to a standalone program.  By doing so, it is suggested, open data simply becomes a good governance strategy and by integrating it into broader government administration information management provides it with sustainability, especially if it becomes a normalized data dissemination strategy and a public engagement mechanism.  The Working Paper also includes a number of recommendations for consideration in addition to or to complement those provided by Insight.  Recommendations are as follows:

1. Good Governance

  • Open data should be a natural extension of good governance strategies and not stand alone programs.
  • Open data should be a key component of government information management (IM), record management, IT and national spatial data infrastructures (NSDI).
  • Open data should be part of a coordinated data and information dissemination strategy, which should also include publicly funded research data, scientific data, data from the humanities, and other qualitative data.
  • Focus on the production and maintenance of good quality public sector, administration, research, geospatial and scientific datasets and less on commercialization, innovation and ‘high value’ datasets.
  • Focus on data that have societal and environmental value, and also on core/framework datasets upon which other datasets can be integrated into.

2. Open Data, Records & Information Management and Thinking more Critically about Data

  • Consider open Data as a good governance strategy and as part of data and information management.
  • Integrate Open Data into IM/IT, Shared Services and integrate with the NSDI
  • Data infrastructures are critically important, Open Data should be considered with cloud computing, high speed internet, and hardware and software.
  • Open datasets should be thought of as government records (data & information) and should be managed accordingly.
  • Adopt a life-cycle and data curation approach to the management, preservation and dissemination of Open Data datasets.
  • Implement the NSDI and consider the CGDI principles for the NSDI and for Open Data in Ireland.
  • Critically reflect on data more broadly and not just as objects at the end of an information pipeline.
  • Consider evaluating the contents of an open data portal to see if these can be used to construct indicators of well-being and quality of life.

3.  The DPER / Insight Roadmap and the Best Practices Handbook

  • 3.1.      Governance

  • Develop an open data public interest mandate, vision and mission, and clear objectives against which performance can be evaluated.
  • Reconsider the organizational structure as per the schematic in Figure 5.
  • Reconsider appointments on the SIG to be expertise and skills based and less political, and that appointments be made by peers.
  • Create an open data institutional entity that will operationalize the work of the ODB, SIG and Working groups and integrate these with other government programs.
  • Open data officers should be appointed in all government offices
  • Create temporary expert working groups to develop and implement infrastructure wide practices (see figure 5).

3.2.      Legal, Policy and Ethical Framework

  • Develop a data and information legal and policy framework with open data as a component of it.
  • Conduct an inventory of collaborative and data sharing instruments (e.g., MOU, procurement contracts, data sharing agreements, etc.).
  • Assess the outputs of the Intellectual Property Activity in Ireland Based on Existing Data report resulting from the RfT in the spring of 2014.
  • Conduct an inventory of all laws, regulation, policies and directives that would govern how data are collected and disseminated.
  • Develop a set of explicit legal, policy and ethical guidelines for the management of public sector data and open data based on laws, regulation, directives, policies and practices in Ireland for public sector officials.
  • Include these guidelines as part of the data dissemination decision-making tree (Figure 6).

3.3.      Public Engagement

  • Engage with stakeholders on developing the mission, vision and mandate for the Open Data strategy.
  • Engage with stakeholders to shape how an Open Data roadmap and strategy could look.
  • Engage with, study, build upon and harmonize the Open Data strategy with existing public sector data dissemination programs.
  • Review and assess existing technologically mediated engagement tools and social media applications in other jurisdictions.
  • Public sector officials and departments should develop processes and be receptive to evidence based public input into public policy and planning, and learn to solicit feedback from the public in a useful and educated way.
  • Consider crowdsourcing, VGI and citizen science as a public engagement strategy.

4. Data Curation or a Data Audit?

  • Adopt a digital data curation and life-cycle approach to the management of data and conduct the data audit accordingly.
  • Adopt the Data Audit Framework.
  • Ensure that additional elements are added into the data audit (e.g. geocoded, scale, time).
  • The high value approach to the selection of data should be reconsidered, and an evaluation of what current data ‘clients’ value, should be considered.
  • Recognize the limitations of a machine only audit, and broaden search criteria to include all data not just those in open formats and under an open licence.
  • Conduct a full inventory of portals and catalogues from all sectors in Ireland and integrate their metadata to ensure cross disciplinary discoverability.
  • Publish the results of the data audit.

5. Data Dissemination and Publication

  • It is highly recommended that DPER consider adopting the well established data curation life cycle management approach similar to the one developed by the Digital Curation Centre, and consider taking a data curatorial approach in lieu of a data audit.
  • Adopt the Data Audit Framework for data curation as well as those developed by the Digital Curation Centre and consider developing an Information Management Directive which incorporates the ideals of Open Data, preservation and archives.
  • Create a decision making tree to help public officials determine what can and cannot be published.  Figure 6 is an example to guide decisions on the management and dissemination of sensitive data.
  • The outcomes of the decision derived from the application of the open data publication decision making tree would then form the basis for the decision supporting why some datasets are not published by default.
  • A data management and dissemination WG should be created along with those in Figure 5, and invite experts from the Digital Repository of Ireland, library and archives and information studies, geospatial community to help develop a comprehensive access, dissemination, data management and preservation plan for Ireland.

6.  Evaluation

  • Assess current performance and evaluation frameworks within the Irish public sector, including auditing frameworks, or those commonly adopted and reported on in other countries that have well established Open Data programs such as Canada, the US and the UK and as per the RfT.
  • Reassess the Open Data Barometer evaluation recommendation in the DPER/Insight report in light of its objectives and its target use and determine if it is a suitable model for a western developed national Open Data program.
  • Consider high impact datasets, those of public, social and environmental significance along with those considered to be of high value.