Launch Program

Programmable City Launch Details

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9:45: Tea/coffee

10.10-10.30: The Programmable City

  • Rob Kitchin, PI Programmable City Project, NIRSA, NUIM

An overview of The Programmable City project, the ideas underpinning the research and the prospective case studies.

10.30-11.30: Software and cities

  • Matthew Wilson (Harvard University) Quantified Self-City-Nation

Abstract: New devices and techniques have emerged to better quantify an individual’s movement, stasis, and even sleep, while a ‘smart city’ discourse and marketing apparatus applies these principles to analysis, representation, and management of the city. Indeed, as cities are increasingly rethought as organisms and human bodies are quantified as systems, the interactive opportunities and limitations for engagement, representation, and resistance are evermore significant. In this presentation, I draw parallels between the rising consumer-electronic sector associated with personal activity monitors and the rapid visioning of smart urbanism. More specifically, I interrogate these developments in quantification, namely: interoperability and propriety, competition and habit, fashion and surveillance. What are the social-cultural and political implications for this refiguring of spatial thought and action? What capacities are reinforced and developed through the implementation of these technologies and techniques? I address these concerns, through discussion of a continuum of technologies that serve to open and close multi-scalar systems of attention control.

Bio: Matthew W. Wilson is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University and Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky, where he co-directs the New Mappings Collaboratory. His scholarly activities are at the intersection of critical human geography and geographic information science, as part of an evolving research agenda in ‘critical GIS’. Matt holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Washington.

  • Martin Dodge (University of Manchester) Code and Conveniences

Abstract: In this talk I want to think about where code is at work in world and for what purposes. Playing on the popularist notion that technologies bring greater convenience to modern life, this talk looks at specifically at ‘conveniences’, an apposite space of modernity. I will analyse how public toilet spaces are being reshaped, with sensor technologies and software processes deployed that seek to render toileting practices into a sequence of touch-free activities, and attempt to diminish direct handling of the materiality of the bathroom surfaces and fixtures. Driven by a range of modernist discourses around hygiene, ease-of-use, and efficiency, it is apparent that many public toilets are now sites of code which reacts to humans without direct touch. However, the logics of software enabled automation able to overcome the fear of contamination and subconscious disgust at direct touching of surfaces shared with strange bodies is often nullified because the actual deployment of touch-free sensors is typically incomplete.  The talk will conclude by considering why the spaces of touch are likely only ever to be partially reconfigurable by software technologies, and what this might mean for the algorithmic automation of other everyday environment and tactile activities.

Bio: Martin Dodge is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, and his research focuses primarily on the politics of mapping technologies, new modes of geographic visualisation, and cultural understandings of urban infrastructures. He curated from 1997 to 2007 the well-known web-based Atlas of Cyberspaces and has co-authored three books analysing technologies: Mapping Cyberspace (Routledge, 2000), Atlas of Cyberspace (Addison-Wesley, 2001) and Code/Space (MIT Press, 2011). He has co-edited four books on cartographic theory and mapping practice: Geographic Visualization (Wiley, 2008), Rethinking Maps (Routledge, 2009),Classics in Cartography (Wiley, 2010) and The Map Reader (Wiley, 2011). Blog & Personal Pages.

11.30-12.30: Data and cities

  • Tim Reardon (Assistant Director of Data Services, MAPC) Putting Data to Work in Metro Boston

Abstract: The Metropolitan Area Planning Council uses data and technology to support more informed decision making across more than 100 cities and towns in Greater Boston.  The work of the Data Services Department falls across four primary domains: Compiling, crowd-sourcing, or manufacturing data to build a better understanding of the region’s systems; democratizing access to data through interactive web portals and open data initiatives; forecasting a range of future scenarios based on different assumptions about policy decisions and external forces; and maintaining an indicators program to track progress toward regional goals. The narrative and presentation methods for this work also seek to achieve certain strategic objectives: disrupt conventional wisdom about regional and local trends; build the capacity of stakeholders to engage with policy makers and experts; bring competing priorities into higher relief so they can be more effectively balanced; and maintain a public focus on the policy levers most critical to achieving regional goals.  This presentation will describe the work of the council with specific examples of how our data work has influenced local and regional decision-making.

Bio: Timothy Reardon is the Assistant Director of Data Services at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional public agency serving Metro Boston. He has over fifteen years of experience in regional planning, with a focus on using data and technology to support informed decision-making. Mr. Reardon oversees the agency’s applied research program where his current projects include integrated transportation and land use planning, socioeconomic projections, policy-oriented technical analysis, development of new datasets, and scenario modeling. Mr. Reardon had a leading role in the technical analysis, public engagement, communications, and implementation strategy components of MetroFuture, MAPC’s long range regional growth plan. He earned a masters degree in city planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Tracey P. Lauriault (Programmable City Team) A Genealogy of Open Data Assemblages

Abstract: Evidence informed decision making, participatory public policy, government transparency and accountability, sustainable development, and data driven journalism were the initial drivers of making public data accessible.  The access work of geomaticians, researchers, librarians, community developers and journalists has recently been recast as open data that includes a different set of actors.  As open data matures as a practice, its principles, definitions and guidelines have been transformed into national performance indicators such as indexes, barometers, ratings and score cards; the private sector such as Gartner, McKinsey, and Deloitte are touting open data’s innovation and business opportunities; while smart city initiatives offer tools and expertise to help government sense, monitor, measure and evaluate their cities.  Open data today seems to have evolved far from its original ideals, even with civil society players such as Markets for Good, Sunlight Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation, Code for America, and many others advocating for more social approaches.  This talk proposes an assemblage approach to understanding open data and provides a genealogy of its development in different contexts and places.

Bio: Tracey P. Lauriault is a Programmable City Project Postdoctoral Researcher focussing on How are digital data generated and processed about cities and their citizens?  She arrives from Canada where she was a researcher with the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, at Carleton University, where she investigated Data, Infrastructures and Geographical Imaginations, spatial data infrastructures, open data and the preservation of and access to research and geomatics data; legal and policy issues associated with geospatial, administrative and civil society data; and cybercartography.  She is a a member of the international Research Data Alliance Legal (RDA) Interoperability Working Group, the Natural Resources Canada Roundtable on Geomatics Legal and Policy Interest Group.  She is also actively engaged in public policy research as it pertains to open data and their related infrastructures.

12.30-13.30: Lunch

13.30-14.00: Launch

  • Sean Sherlock, TD and Prof. Bernard Mahon, Vice-President for Research NUIM

14.00-15.00: Smart Cities

  • Siobhan Clarke (Trinity College Dublin) ICT-Enabled Behavioural Change in Smart Cities

Abstract: Limited resources in urban environments, such as road networks, energy and water, are under increasing strain as a result of population growth. However, such resources could be managed in a better way through behavioural change. This presentation explores ICT-enabled autonomous behavioural change as a means to ameliorate sustainability issues in future cities. In particular, the focus is on multi-agent systems applied to energy demand-side management and to traffic congestion.

Bio:Prof. Siobhán Clarke is a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin. She joined Trinity in 2000, having previously worked for over ten years as a software engineer for IBM. Her current research focus is on software engineering models for the provision of smart and dynamic software services to urban stakeholders, addressing research challenges in the engineering of dynamic software in ad hoc, mobile environments. She is the founding Director of Future Cities, the Trinity Centre for Smart and Sustainable Cities, which includes contributors from a wide range of disciplines, including Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, Social Science, Geography, Law, Business and the Health Sciences. She leads the School’s Distributed Systems Group, and was elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2006.

  • Adam Greenfield (London School of Economics) Another City is Possible: Networked Urbanism from Above and Below?

Abstract: In this talk, I will argue that the narrative of the smart city, as it is currently articulated, is limited and gives rise to a potentially authoritarian vision of cities under centralized, computational surveillance and control: overplanned, overdetermined, and driven by the needs of enterprise. But I will also contend that an alternative exists, and will explore some practical, concrete ways we might use the networked information technologies we already have to advance and support an urban experience that responds to our needs, demands, and desires. How might we inscribe a robust conception of the right to the city in these systems that will do so much to define the urban experience in the twenty-first century?

Bio: Adam Greenfield is Senior Urban Fellow at LSE Cities and founded Urbanscale, a New York City-based practice dedicated to “design for networked cities and citizens.” Between 2008 and 2010, he lived and worked in Helsinki, as Nokia’s head of design direction for service and user interface design; earlier in the decade, he had worked as lead information architect for the Tokyo office of Internet consultancy Razorfish. He is the author of Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing (2006), “Urban computing and its discontents” (2007, with Mark Shepard) and “Against the smart city” (2013), the last of which constitutes the first part of a forthcoming book entitled The City is Here For You to Use. With his wife, artist Nurri Kim, Adam is also co-founder of Do projects, a platform for collaborative making. Since 2010, Do projects has conducted the innovative Systems/Layers “walkshops” in cities around the world, a series of walking tours dedicated to investigating the ways in which digital networks gather information from and return information to the street.  His research concentrates on the interaction of networked information technology with urban experience, and particularly on the implications of emergent technologies for the construction of public space and the right to the city.

15.00-15.45:  The Programmable City Project Team

  • 3-4 minute snapshots of Programmable City PhD/Postdoc projects
  • Gavin McArdle – Dublin City Dashboard

15.45-16.00 Closing remarks

  • Peter Finnegan, Director of International Reseach and Relations, Dublin City Council
  • Rob Kitchin, PI Programmable City project

Be sure to RSVP via EventBrite!