Tag Archives: Workshop

CFP: Slow computing: A workshop on resistance in the algorithmic age

Call for Papers

One-day workshop, Maynooth University, Ireland, December 14th, 2017

 Hosted by the Programmable City project at Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute and the Department of Geography

In line with the parallel concepts of slow food (e.g. Miele & Murdoch 2002) or slow scholarship (Mountz et al 2015), ‘slow computing’ (Fraser 2017) is a provocation to resist. In this case, the idea of ‘slow computing’ prompts users of contemporary technologies to consider ways of refusing the invitation to enroll in data grabbing architectures – constituted in complex overlapping ways by today’s technology services and devices – and by accepting greater levels of inconvenience while also pursuing data security, privacy, and even a degree of isolation from the online worlds of social networks.

The case for slow computing arises from the emerging form and nature of ‘the algorithmic age.’ As is widely noted across the sciences today (e.g. see Boyd & Crawford 2012; Kitchin 2014), the algorithmic age is propelled forward by a wide range of firms and government agencies pursuing the roll-out of data-driven and data-demanding technologies. The effects are varied, differentiated, and heavily debated. However, one obvious effect entails the re-formatting of consumers into data producers who (knowingly or unwittingly) generate millions of data points that technology firms can crunch and manipulate to understand specific markets and society as a whole, not to mention the public and private lives of everyday users. Once these users are dispossessed of the value they help create (Thatcher et al 2016), and then conceivably targeted in nefarious ways by advertisers and political campaigners (e.g. see Winston 2016), the subsequent implications for economic and democratic life are potentially far-reaching.

As such, as we move further into a world of ‘big data’ and the so-called ‘digital economy,’ there is a need to ask how individuals – as well as civil society organizations, small firms, small-scale farmers, and many others – might continue to make appropriate and fruitful use of today’s technologies, but while also trying to avoid becoming another data point in the new data-aggregating market. Does slow computing offer a way to navigate the algorithmic age while taking justice seriously? Can slow computing become a part of diverse strategies or tactics of resistance today? Just what are the possibilities and limitations of slow computing?

This one-day workshop invites participation from scholars, practitioners, artists and others who might be exploring these, or other related questions, about slow computing. Papers might contain explorations of:

  • Slow computing practices (whether using auto-ethnography, ethnography, or other qualitative or quantitative methodologies);
  • How slow computing technologies could be designed for private or public institutions;
  • The challenges facing actors who try to unplug, shield, or silo data or other products of social life from the digital economy;
  • The socio-political possibilities emerging from efforts to avoid data-grabbing architectures;
  • Efforts to raise awareness about the privacy implications of contemporary data-grabbing technologies.

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. Stefania Milan, University of Amsterdam

Those interested in participating should send a proposed title and abstract of no more than 250 words to Dr. Alistair Fraser – alistair.fraser@mu.ie – by September 29th 2017. Informal enquiries about the workshop can also be sent to the co-organizer, Prof. Rob Kitchin: rob.kitchin@mu.ie

Works cited:

Boyd, D. and Crawford, K. 2012. Critical questions for big data: Provocations for a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon. Information, Communication & Society. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2012.678878

Fraser, A. 2017. Land Grab / Data Grab. SocArXiv. May 19. osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/9utyh.

Kitchin, R. 2014. Big Data, new epistemologies and paradigm shifts. Big Data & Society. doi:10.1177/2053951714528481

Miele, M. and Murdoch, J., 2002. The practical aesthetics of traditional cuisines: slow food in Tuscany. Sociologia Ruralis, 42(4), pp.312-328. doi: 10.1111/1467-9523.00219

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., Basu, R., Whitson, R., Hawkins, R., Hamilton, T. and Curran, W., 2015. For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(4), pp.1235-1259.

Thatcher. J., O’Sullivan, D., and Mahmoudi, D. 2016. ‘Data Colonialism through accumulation by dispossession: New metaphors for daily data. Environment & Planning D: Society & Space 34: 990-1006. doi: 10.1177/0263775816633195

Winston, J. 2016. How the Trump campaign built an identity database and used facebook ads to win the election. Startup Grind, Nov 18.

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.

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Data and the City Workshop

The Programmable City Project is hosting a two day invite-only workshop on the relations between data and the city.  The Data and the City Workshop will take place on August 31st and September 1st 2015 and will bring together 20 invited experts in the field and the ProgCity team.  A description of the workshop and the agenda are below with links to some of the papers to be presented that are already available online:

There is a long history of governments, businesses, science and citizens producing and utilising data in order to monitor, regulate, profit from, and make sense of the urban world.  Data have traditionally been time-consuming and costly to generate, analyze and interpret, and generally provided static, often coarse, snapshots of phenomena.  Recently, however, we have entered the age of big data with data related to knowing and governing cities increasingly become a deluge; a wide, deep torrent of timely, varied, resolute, and relational data.  This has been accompanied by an opening up of state data, and to a much lesser degree business data, and the production of volunteered geographic information.  As a result, evermore aspects of everyday life — work, consumption, travel, communication, leisure — and the worlds we inhabit are being captured as data and mediated through data-driven technologies.   This data revolution has produced multiple challenges that require critical and technical attention — how best to produce, manage, analyze, and make sense of big and open data, data infrastructures and their consequences with respect to urban governance and everyday life. The workshop will examine such critical and technical issues across the five thematic areas of: critically framing data, data infrastructures and platforms, data models and the city, data analytics and the city, ethical and political issues.

 Data and the City Workshop Agenda

 31st August 2015

Session 1/Welcome

10.00-10.30

Moderator: T. Lauriault

1.1 Rob Kitchin, Introduction & Data-driven, networked urbanism

Session 2

Critically Framing Data

10.30-12.30

Moderator: T. Lauriault

2.1 Jim Thatcher & Craig Dalton – Provenance and Possibility: thoughts towards a schema for urban data

2.2 Evelyn Ruppert – Where are data citizens?

2.3 Jo Bates – Data cultures, power and the city

Session 3

Data Infrastructures & Platforms

13.30-15.30

Moderator: L. Evans

3.1 Till Straube – Situating Data Infrastructure

3.2 Martijn de Waal – Understanding the City Through Urban Data

3.3 Tracey Lauriault – Ontologizing the City, From Old School National Cartographic Infrastructure toward a Rules Based Real-World Object Oriented National Database

Session 4

Data Analytics and the City

16.00-18.00

Moderator: S-Y. Perng

4.1 Gavin McArdle & Rob Kitchin – Improving the Veracity of Open and Real-Time Urban Data

4.2 Chris Speed – Blockchain City: Spatial, Social And Cognitive Ledgers

4.3 Muki Haklay – Beyond Quantification: A Role For Citizen Science And Community Science In A Smart City

1st September 2015

Session 5

Data Models and the City

10.00-12.00

Moderator: L. Heaphy

5.1 Pouria Amirian- Service Oriented Design and Polyglot Binding for Efficient Sharing and Analysing of Data in Cities

5.2 Mike Batty – Data about Cities: Redefining Big, Recasting Small

5.3 Jo Walsh – Putting Out Data Fires; life with the OpenStreetMap DWG

Session 6

Data Issues

13.00-15.00

 Moderator: C. Coletta 

6.1 David Wood – Smart City, Surveillance City:  human flourishing in a data-driven urban world

6.2 Francisco Klauser, Till Paasche, Ola Söderström – Michel Foucault and the smart city: power dynamics inherent in contemporary governing through code

6.3 Teresa Scassa – Crime Data and Analytics: Accounting for Crime in the City

Session 7

15.30-17.00

Moderator: R. Kitchin

7.1 Discussion/Wrap-up

Workshop: Code and the City, 3-4 September

In early September the Programmable City project at NUI Maynooth will be hosting a number of the foremost thinkers on the intersection of software, ubiquitous computing and the city for a two day workshop entitled ‘Code and the City’.

We’re really excited to be gathering together these scholars to discuss their ideas and research.  We’ve structured the programme so that each session lasts for two hours, with c. an hour for presentations, followed by an hour of discussion and debate.  Full draft written papers will be circulated in advance to attendees.

To try and make sure the event operates as a workshop we are limiting the numbers attending to the speakers, plus our team, plus a handful of open slots.  If you are interested in attending then please email Sung-Yueh.Perng@nuim.ie with your request by June 6th, setting out why you would like to attend.  We will then allocate the additional places by June 13th.

Introduction

Code and the City
Rob Kitchin, NIRSA, National University of Ireland Maynooth

Session 1: Automation/algorithms

Cities in code: how software repositories express urban life
Adrian Mackenzie, Sociology, Lancaster University

Autonomy and automation in the coded city
Sam Kinsley, Geography, University of Exeter

Interfacing Urban Intelligence
Shannon Mattern, Media Studies, New School NY

Session 2: Abstraction and urbanisation

Encountering the city at hackathons
Sophia Maalsen and Sung-Yueh Perng, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Disclosing Disaster? A Study of Ethics, Praxeology and Phenomenology in a Mobile World
Monika Büscher, With Michael Liegl, Katrina Petersen, Mobilities.Lab, Lancaster University, UK

Riot’s Ratio, on the genealogy of agent-based modeling and the cities of civil war
Matthew Fuller and Graham Harwood, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths

Session 3: Social/locative media

Digital social interactions in the city: Reflecting on location-based social media
Luigina Ciolfi, Human-Centred Computing, Sheffield Hallam University

A Window, a Message, or a Medium? Learning about cities from Instagram
Lev Manovich, Computer Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Feeling place in the city: strange ontologies, Foursquare and location-based social media
Leighton Evans, National University of Ireland Maynooth

Mobility in the actually existing smart city: Developing a multilayered model for the mobile computing dispositif
Jim Merricks White, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Session 4: Knowledge classification and ontology

Cities and Context: The Codification of Small Areas through Geodemographic Classification
Alex Singleton, Geography, University of Liverpool

The city and the Feudal Internet: Examining Institutional Materialities
Paul Dourish, Informatics, UC Irvine

From Jerusalem to Kansas City: New geopolitics and the Semantic Web
Heather Ford and Mark Graham, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Session 5: Governance

From community access to community calculation: exploring alternative urban governance through code
Alison Powell, Media & Communications, LSE

Code and the socio-spatial stratification of the city
Agnieszka Leszczynski, Geography, University of Birmingham

The Cryptographic City
David M. Berry, Media & Communication, University of Sussex