Tag Archives: big data

New paper: Progress and prospects for data-driven coordinated management and emergency response: the case of Ireland

A new paper by Aoife Delaney and Rob Kitchin has been published in Territory, Politics, Governance examining the:

Progress and prospects for data-driven coordinated management and emergency response: the case of Ireland

doi: 10.1080/21622671.2020.1805355


Internationally, there is a drive to make coordinated management and emergency response (CMER) more data-driven and centralized through shared data infrastructures and control centres. While there are a few
well-known case examples of data-driven CMER, in general it has been partially implemented. In this paper, we highlight the importance of historical institutional and spatial context and path dependencies in
shaping the development of CMERs within and across jurisdictions. We examine the progress and prospects of data-driven CMER in Ireland, with respect to the general landscape of inter-agency cooperation and with reference to a single key agency: An Garda Síochána (AGS), the Irish police force. To do so, we draw on 36 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and a critical discourse analysis of 15 key policy/guideline documents. Our analysis reveals the ways in which embedded institutional cultures, structures and working practices, which are relatively resistant to change, have thwarted data-sharing and data-driven analysis and decision-making. These factors act as barriers to the adoption of smart-city approaches more generally, not just in Ireland but globally.

Keywords: coordinated management and emergency response (CMER); big data; smart cities; all-hazards approach.

New paper: Data ratcheting and data-driven organisational change in transport

A new Progcity paper has been published by Liam Heaphy in Big Data and Society.

Data ratcheting and data-driven organisational change in transport

doi: 10.1177/2053951719867359


This article explores the process by which intelligent transport system technologies have further advanced a data-driven culture in public transport and traffic control. Based on 12 interviews with transport engineers and fieldwork visits to three control rooms, it follows the implementation of Real-Time Passenger Information in Dublin and the various technologies on which it is dependent. It uses the concept of ‘data ratcheting’ to describe how a new data-driven rational order supplants a gradualist, conservative ethos, creating technological dependencies that pressure organisations to take control of their own data and curate accessibility to outside organisations. It is argued that the implementation of Real-Time Passenger Information forms part of a changing landscape of urban technologies as cities move from a phase of opening data silos and expanded communication across departments and with citizens towards one in which new streams of digital data are recognised for their value in stabilising novel forms of city administration.

Keywords: Intelligent transport systems, real-time information, smart city, Big Data, organisational change

The paper is open access and you can access it here

Ethics washing and smart cities

Rob Kitchin has published a new article on RTE Brainstorm, The ethics of smart cities. The piece argues that the use of big data and artificial intelligence in managing cities creates many ethical issues, but initiatives to address them can enact ethics-washing in order to avoid regulation and more fundamental questions. The argument is illustrated with reference to initiatives in Toronto and Barcelona.

ethics smart cities 2

Video: Slow computing workshop, afternoon sessions

Happy New Year!

As promised, we are sharing the video of the presentations in the afternoon sessions of the Slow Computing workshop. To catch up the keynote and papers in the morning, see here.

Aphra Kerr (Maynooth University) – Bringing the citizen back into the Algorithmic Age

Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake (Manchester Metropolitan University) – Digital disengagement as a right and a privilege: Challenges and socio-political possibilities of refusal in dataised times

Kate Symons (University of Edinburgh) – OxChain – Reshaping development donors and recipients

Gabriela Avram (University of Limerick) – Community networks as a form of resistance

Rachel O’Dwyer (Trinity College Dublin) – Coined liberty: Cash as resistance to transactional dataveillance

Lindsay Ems (Butler University) – Global resistance through technology non-use: An Amish case

Video: Slow computing workshop, session 1

On the 14th December, we organised the event Slow computing: A workshop on resistance in the algorithmic age. We are processing the video from the day, slowly of course, for those of you who could not attend or those who did but would like to relive the many interesting talks again.

To kick-off, we are sharing the video from the first session. More will follow in the new year, so stay tuned!

Introduction: Rob Kitchin and Alistair Fraser (Maynooth University) – Slow computing

Keynote: Stefania Milan (University of Amsterdam and University of Oslo) – Resist, subvert, accelerate

Nancy Ettlinger (Ohio State University) – Algorithmic affordances for resistance

New paper: slow computing

A new Progcity working paper (No. 36), Slow Computing, has been published by Alistair Fraser and Rob Kitchin.  It was prepared as a position paper for the ‘Slow computing: A workshop on resistance in the algorithmic age’, Dec 14th 2017.


In this short position paper we examine some of the dimensions and dynamics of the algorithmic age by considering three broad questions. First, what are the problematic consequences of life mediated by ‘algorithm machines’? Second, how are individuals or groups and associations resisting the problems they encounter? Third, how might the algorithmic age be re-envisioned and re-made in more normative terms? We focus on two key aspects of living with ubiquitous computing, ‘acceleration’ and ‘data grabbing,’ which we contend are two of the most prominent and problematic features of the algorithmic age. We then begin to shed light on the sorts of practices that constitute slow computing responses to these issues. In the conclusion, we make the case for a widescale embrace of slow computing, which we propose is a necessary step for society to make the most of the undeniable opportunities for radical social change emerging from contemporary technological developments.

Download paper