New paper: Hackathons, entrepreneurship and the passionate making of smart cities

Sung-Yueh Perng, Robk Kitchin and Darach Mac Donncha draw on their various hackathon experiences, including mentoring and winning!, to present you a close-up look of these tech and ‘innovation’ events. The working paper shared here examines how these events extend the passions for digital innovation and entrepreneurship and act as sites of social learning for the development of smart urbanism. If you are interested, the abstract below provides more detail. Or, you can find the working paper using the link: https://osf.io/nu3ec. If you have any thoughts or comments, do share with us!

 

Abstract

Hackathons – quick prototyping events for commercial purposes – have become an important means to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and the start-up economy in smart cities. Smart and entrepreneurial cities have been critiqued with respect to the neoliberalization of governance and statecraft. We consider the passions, inventions and imitations in the assemblage of practices – alongside neoliberalizing and capitalist operations – that shape the economy and governance of smart cities. The paper examines hackathons as tech events that extend the passions for digital innovation and entrepreneurship and act as sites of social learning for the development of smart urbanism. We argue that passionate and imitative practices energize the desire and belief in entrepreneurial life and technocratic governance, and also engender precarious, ambiguous and uncertain future for participants and prototypes.

Fulbright award for Aoife Delaney

We’re delighted to announce the ProgCity PhD student, Aoife Delaney, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.  The scholarship will fund a five month research/study visit to Boston to undertake further research on Coordinated Management and Emergency Response Systems (CMaERS) in the city.  In Boston she’ll be hosted by Prof. Alan Wiig and colleagues in the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS), where she’ll also be taking some courses. Aoife embodies the values of Fulbright and we’re sure she’ll fulfil their aim to “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby to increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.”

The research will be a comparison of CMaERS in Dublin and Boston, with the two case sites being utilised to understand the transformative potential of smart technology for emergency management systems within different governance systems.  The research will map out CMaERS in Dublin and Boston to their organisation, assess where the systems fail because of institutional tensions, lack of technology and resources, policy exclusion, etc., and to evaluate the impact that the ‘smart city’ agenda will have on the future evolution of emergency management systems. This will be achieved through semi-structured interviews with first responders, senior officials, representatives of local and central government and private industry, supported by a discourse analysis of relevant documentation and interview transcripts. The research will build upon preliminary fieldwork undertaken in April 2016.  As well as a thesis and academic papers, one output to help city officials in both cities learn from experiences and systems in both places.

We’re absolutely delighted for Aoife and the resulting research will be a huge plus for the ProgCity project.  Many congratulations, Aoife.  We’re sure you’ll have a great time in Boston and we’re looking forward to hearing and reading about your research findings.

Rob Kitchin

IRC Ulysses Award: “Reshaping cities through data and experiments”

We are delighted to announce that ProgCity postdoc researchers Claudio Coletta, Liam Heaphy and Sung-Yueh Perng have been awarded the IRC Ulysses Grant 2016 to start a new research collaboration between the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation (i3-CSI) at the École des Mines in Paris, and the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) in Maynooth University.

The collaborative project, entitled “Reshaping cities through data and experiments”, includes workshops and a series of coordinated publications that will advance our understanding of the contemporary city in relation to urban data and experimentation. The first workshop will take place in Maynooth University (29-31 May 2017) and the second one in the École des Mines, in October 2017.

The overall questions that the collaboration seeks to address are:
1. What data are generated by cities in the context of smart cities and core services such as transport? For whom are these data created and on what infrastructure are they dependent?
2. How are the experiments and demonstrations for urban change organised and accounted? Which actors are involved and how do they engage?
3. How experiments and demonstration through data affect the everyday life of cities, their management and governance practices?

The scientific exchange will explore the following three intertwined aspects that are critical to urban management, governance and everyday life in cities: civic engagement, mobility and automated management.

With respect to civic engagement, the two groups will reflect upon specific ways in which civic initiatives seek to obtain, repurpose and act on urban data for improving quality of life. With respect to mobility, the two groups will discuss the convergence of organisational, technological, political and economic dimensions in initiatives dedicated to innovative mobility practices and demonstrations. They will investigate (1) how such global phenomena are related to wider public or private development strategies (2) how “best practices”, business plans or technical systems circulate from one place to another. With respect to automated management, the two groups will explore the testing of new urban services where the urban environment is used as a living laboratory, such as IoT (Internet of Things) technologies for measuring air pollution and traffic monitoring. Thus conceived the project has two main projected outcomes: to produce scientific and transferable knowledge on the shaping of contemporary cities and to create awareness on the implications of experimental and data-driven urbanism.

Claudio, Liam and Sung-Yueh are honoured and grateful to the IRC for this great opportunity to advance their research on smart cities and build new international collaborations.

 irchss_logo  https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ambafrance-ie.org%2FIMG%2Farton3247.jpg%3F1444141093&f=1

 

New paper: Living Labs, vacancy, and gentrification

Paolo Cardullo and Rob Kitchin have published a new working paper: ‘Living Labs, vacancy, and gentrification‘ on SocArXiv. It was prepared for the ‘The New Urban Ruins: Vacancy and the Post-Crisis City’ workshop, 1-3 March 2017, Trinity College Dublin.

Abstract
This paper evaluates smart city (SC) initiatives in the context of re-using vacant property. More specifically, we focus on living labs (LL) and vacancy in general, as well as on their potential role in fostering creative economy-fuelled gentrification. LL utilise Lo-Fi technologies to foster local digital innovation and support community-focused civic hacking, running various kinds of workshops and engaging with local citizens to co-create digital interventions and apps aimed at ‘solving’ local issues. Five approaches to LL are outlined and discussed in relation to vacancy and gentrification: pop-up initiatives, university-led activities, community organised venues/activities, citizen sensing and crowdsourcing, and tech-led regeneration initiatives. Notwithstanding the potential for generating temporary and independent spaces for transferring and fostering digital competences and increasing citizens’ participation in the SC, we argue that LL largely foster a form of participation framed within a model of civic stewardship for ‘smart citizens’. While presented as horizontal, open, and participative, LL and civic hacking are often rooted in pragmatic and paternalistic discourses and practices related to the production of a creative economy and a specific version of SC. As such, by encouraging a particular kind of re-use of vacant space, LL potentially contributes to gentrification pressures within locales by attracting the creative classes and new investment. We discuss these approaches and issues generally and with respect to examples in Dublin, Ireland.

Key words: vacancy, property, gentrification, living labs, civic hacking, creative class, regeneration

Download the paper

Workshop paper with LERO / School of Business: Perception of Value in Public-Private Ecosystems: Transforming Dublin Docklands through Smart Technologies

On December 9th 2016, Lero organised a workshop called IoT & Smart City Challenges and Applications” (ICSA 2016), prior to the 2016 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2016), held in Dublin, Ireland from December 11-14. The event features 12 presentations across three themes, along with panel discussions.

Among these was the following paper on the Dublin Docklands, drawing from our early findings on partnership models for a smart district:

Perception of Value in Public-Private Ecosystems: Transforming Dublin Docklands through Smart Technologies
Olga Ryazanova, Reka Petercsak, Liam Heaphy, Niall Connolly and Brian Donnellan

or just Dublin Docklands?

Abstract:
Our study explores the potential for developing a hybrid business model for public-private ecosystem that emerged around the smart cities project in Dublin Docklands Strategic Development Zone. We focus on stakeholders’ expectations in relation to value creation and value capture, trying to understand to what extent the interests of stakeholder groups are diverse, and whether it is possible to create consensus that delivers economic, social, and environmental value for participants. The findings of this study seek to advance the literature on the business models of hybrid organisations and to test some assumptions of the research on the governance of public-private partnerships.

download

Seminar video: Andrés Luque-Ayala

On February 8th of this year, we had the pleasure of having Dr Andrés Luque-Ayala in Maynooth University to give a seminar on “Digital Territories: Location Awareness and the Re-making of Political Space in Rio’s Favelas”.

This presentation was based on research conducted with Flávia Maia (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Urban Planning Dept.) on the digital mapping of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas in the context of the city’s ICT drive to become a leading ‘smart city’.