On February 25th 2015, Mark Maguire visited the Programmable City Project and delivered a seminar on counter-terrorist techniques that are increasingly becoming (or have become) techno-scientific processes.
The talk was extremely well received, and offers a detailed, critical and timely appraisal of current developments in counter-terrorism.
A few weeks ago Ayona Datta, a senior lecturer in “Citizenship and Belonging” at the University of Leeds, spoke to an audience in Maynooth about the emergence of smart urbanism in India and the proliferation of the smart city discourse in the country. Titled ‘Fast Cities: New Utopias of Smart Urbanism in India’, Dr. Datta’s talk was the second seminar of this academic year from the ongoing Programmable City Project. Focusing mainly on the development of fast/smart cities in her native country, the talk also complimented a number of additional critiques of smart city initiatives that have gained resonance such as: associated technological solutionism; the depoliticalisation of the concept; the development of a project solely for an emerging tech-savvy, middle class; and the strategic framing of the concept in the near distant future amongst other notable issues. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Web Summit in Dublin, a large, tech entrepreneur event (my observations on the event are posted here). This week I spent three days at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, another event that considered how technology is being used to reshape social and economic life, but which had a very different vibe, a much more mixed constituency of exhibitors and speakers (a mix of tech companies, consultants, city administrations/officials, politicians, NGOs, and academics; over 400 cities sent representatives and 240 companies were present, and there were over 10,000 attendees), and for the most part had a much more tempered discourse. We presented our work on the Dublin Dashboard and the use of indicators in knowing and governing cities, attended the congress (keynote talks, plenary panels, and parallel paper sessions) and toured round the expo (a trade fair made up mostly of company and city stands). I thought it would be useful to share my observations with respect to the event and in particular some of the absences. Continue reading