Idea by Helena Rong and Juncheng Yang: “We propose an interactive design engagement platform which facilitates a continuous conversation between developers, designers and end users from pre-design and planning phases all the way to post-occupancy, adopting a citizen-centric and inclusive-oriented approach which would stimulate trust-building and invite active participation from end users from different age, ethnicity, social and economic background to participate in the design and development process. We aim to explore how collective intelligence through citizen engagement could be enabled by data to allow new collectives to emerge, confronting design as an iterative process involving scalable cooperation of different actors. As a result, design is a collaborative and conscious practice not born out of a single mastermind of the architect. Rather, its agency is reinforced by a cooperative ideal involving institutions, enterprises and single individuals alike enabled by data science….(More)”
Paper by Seongkyung Cho et al: “Cities are venues for experimentation with technology (e.g., smart cities) and democratic governance. At the intersection of both trends is the emergence of new online platforms for citizen engagement. There is little evidence to date on the extent to which these are being used or the characteristics associated with adopters at the leading edge. With rich data on civic engagement and innovation from a 2016 International City/County Management Association (ICMA) survey, we explore platform use in U.S. local governments and relationships with offline civic engagement, innovation, and local characteristics. We find that use of online participatory platforms is associated with offline participation, goals for civic engagement, and city size, rather than evidence that this is related to a more general orientation toward innovation….(More)”.
Paper by Jenny Lindholm & Janne Berg: “Democratic innovations have been suggested as one way of increasing public participation in political processes. Civic technology may provide resources for improving transparency, publicity, and accountability in political processes. This paper is about the development of a smartphone application that provides users with information on municipal politics and representatives. We develop the application using a user-centered design approach. Thus, we establish its functions by hearing the end-users and considering their goals in the design process. We conducted three focus groups to find out what features end-users would like to see in an app. Six features were present in all three focus group discussions: receiving information, expressing opinions, creating/answering polls, receiving notifications, following issues and receiving emergency messages….(More)”.
Book edited by Tanu Priya Uteng, Hilda Rømer Christensen, and Lena Levin: “This book considers gender perspectives on the ‘smart’ turn in urban and transport planning to effectively provide ‘mobility for all’ while simultaneously attending to the goal of creating green and inclusive cities. It deals with the conceptualisation, design, planning, and execution of the fast-emerging ‘smart’ solutions.
The volume questions the efficacy of transformations being brought by smart solutions and highlights the need for a more robust problem formulation to guide the design of smart solutions, and further maps out the need for stronger governance to manage the introduction and proliferation of smart technologies. Authors from a range of disciplinary backgrounds have contributed to this book, designed to converse with mobility studies, transport studies, urban-transport planning, engineering, human geography, sociology, gender studies, and other related fields.
The book fills a substantive gap in the current gender and mobility discourses, and will thus appeal to students and researchers studying mobilities in the social, political, design, technical, and environmental sciences….(More)”.
Introduction by Ash Amin: “….More than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and this figure is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. World affairs and city affairs have become deeply enmeshed, and what goes on within cities – their economic productivity, environmental footprint, cultural practices, social wellbeing, and political stability – affects the world at large. They shape the weather and are the weathervane of our times, so getting them right matters. But what this involves and how far it is within reach is by no means clear….
Thus, while the international policy community may confidently call for cities to be made ‘inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ in the way headlined in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it tends to underestimate the challenges of achieving traction in a distributed, plural and often hidden force field. A number of pressing questions arise. Should state effort focus on comprehensive master plans and general infrastructures and services, or on strategic risks and vulnerabilities, while coordinating risks? What are the limits and limitations of state action, and how is the balance between the general and the specific or the communal
and sectionalist to be found? What is the relationship between central authority plans and the communities who are to benefit, and how can neighbourhood knowledge and effort be supported amidst policy neglect or corporatist calculation? Is it possible to reconcile strategic and democratic goals in the twenty first-century city of multiple logics, demands and actors?…(More)”.
Michael Mehaffy at Public Square: “Urbanists have long been drawing lessons from other disciplines, including sociology, environmental psychology and ecology. Now there are intriguing new lessons being offered by a perhaps surprising field: brain science. But to explore the story of those lessons, we’ll have to start first with genetics.
Few developments in the sciences have had the impact of the revolutionary discoveries in genetics, and in particular, what is called the “genome”—the totality of the complex pattern of genetic information that produces the proteins and other structures of life. By getting a clearer picture of the workings of this evolving, generative structure, we gain dramatic new insights on disease processes, on cellular mechanisms, and on the ultimate wonders of life itself. In a similar way, geneticists now speak of the “proteome”—the no less complex structure of proteins and their workings that generate tissues, organs, signaling molecules, and other element of complex living processes.
An important characteristic of both the genome and the proteome is that they work as totalities, with any one part potentially interacting with any other. In that sense, they are immense interactive networks, with the pattern of connections shaping the interactions, and in turn being shaped by them through a process of self-organization. Proteins produce other proteins; genes switch on other genes. In this way, the structure of our bodies evolves and adapts to new conditions—new infections, new stresses, new environments. Our bodies “learn.”
It turns out that something very similar goes on in the brain. We are born with a vastly complex pattern of connections between our neurons, and these go on to change after birth as we experience new environments and learn new skills and concepts. Once again, the totality of the pattern is what matters, and the ways that different parts of the brain get connected (or disconnected) to form new patterns, new ideas and pictures of the world.
Following the naming precedent in genetics, this complex neural structure is now being called the “connectome” (because it’s a structure that’s similar to a “genome”). The race is on to map this structure and its most important features. (Much of this work is being advanced by the NIH’s Human Connectome Project.)
What do these insights have to do with cities? As Steven Johnson noted in his book Emergence, there is more in common between the two structures than might appear. There is good reason to think that, as with brains, a lot of what happens in cities has more to do with the overall pattern of connections, and less to do with particular elements….(More)”.
As Jane Jacobs pointed out over half a century ago, the city is a kind of “intricate ballet” of people interacting, going about their plans, and shaping the life of the city, from the smallest scales to the largest. This intricate pattern is complex, but it’s far from random. As Jacobs argued, it exhibits a high degree of order — what she called “organized complexity.”
Daniel Arribas-Bel at Catapult: ‘When trying to understand something as complex as the city, every bit of data helps create a better picture. Researchers, practitioners and policymakers gather as much information as they can to represent every aspect of their city – from noise levels captured by open-source sensors and the study of social isolation using tweets to where the latest hipster coffee shop has opened – exploration and creativity seem to have no limits.
But what about imagery?
You might well ask, what type of images? How do you analyse them? What’s the point anyway?
Let’s start with the why. Images contain visual cues that encode a host of socio-economic information. Imagine a picture of a street with potholes outside a derelict house next to a burnt out car. It may be easy to make some fairly sweeping assumptions about the average income of its resident population. Or the image of a street with a trendy barber-shop next door to a coffee-shop with bare concrete feature walls on one side, and an independent record shop on the other. Again, it may be possible to describe the character of this area.
These are just some of the many kinds of signals embedded in image data. In fact, there is entire literature in geography and sociology that document these associations (see, for example, Cityscapes by Daniel Aaron Silver and Terry Nichols Clark for a sociology approach and The Predictive Postcode by Richard Webber and Roger Burrows for a geography perspective). Imagine if we could figure out ways to condense such information into formal descriptors of cities that help us measure aspects that traditional datasets can’t, or to update them more frequently than standard sources currently allow…(More)”.
Book by Sarah Barns: “This book reflects on what it means to live as urban citizens in a world increasingly shaped by the business and organisational logics of digital platforms. Where smart city strategies promote the roll-out of internet of things (IoT) technologies and big data analytics by city governments worldwide, platform urbanism responds to the deep and pervasive entanglements that exist between urban citizens, city services and platform ecosystems today.
Recent years have witnessed a backlash against major global platforms, evidenced by burgeoning literatures on platform capitalism, the platform society, platform surveillance and platform governance, as well as regulatory attention towards the market power of platforms in their dominance of global data infrastructure.
This book responds to these developments and asks: How do platform ecosystems reshape connected cities? How do urban researchers and policy makers respond to the logics of platform ecosystems and platform intermediation? What sorts of multisensory urban engagements are rendered through platform interfaces and modalities? And what sorts of governance challenges and responses are needed to cultivate and champion the digital public spaces of our connected lives….(More)”.
Press release: “Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed an Executive Order to establish an Algorithms Management and Policy Officer within the Mayor’s Office of Operations. The Officer will serve as a centralized resource on algorithm policy and develop guidelines and best practices to assist City agencies in their use of algorithms to make decisions. The new Officer will ensure relevant algorithms used by the City to deliver services promote equity, fairness and accountability. The creation of the position follows review of the recommendations from the Automated Decision Systems (ADS) Task Force Report required by Local Law 49 of 2018, published here.
“Fairness and equity are central to improving the lives of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.“With every new technology comes added responsibility, and I look forward to welcoming an Algorithms Management and Policy Officer to my team to ensure the tools we use to make decisions are fair and transparent.”…
The Algorithms Management and Policy Officer will develop guidelines and best practices to assist City agencies in their use of tools or systems that rely on algorithms and related technologies to support decision-making. As part of that effort, the Officer and their personnel support will develop processes for agency reporting and provide resources that will help the public learn more about how New York City government uses algorithms to make decisions and deliver services….(More)”.
Paper by Catarina Rolim and Ricardo Gomes: “In Portugal, there are about 120 thousand social housing and a large share of them are in need of some kind of rehabilitation. Alongside the technical challenge associated with the retrofit measures implementation, there is the challenge of involving the citizens in adopting more energy conscious behaviors. Within the Sharing Cities project and, specifically in the case of social housing retrofit, engagement activities with the tenants are being promoted, along with participation from city representatives, decision makers, stakeholders, and among others. This paper will present a methodology outlined to evaluate the impact of retrofit measures considering the citizen as a crucial retrofit stakeholder. The approach ranges from technical analysis and data monitoring but also conveys activities such as educational and training sessions, interviews, surveys, workshops, public events, and focus groups. These will be conducted during the different stages of project implementation; the definition process, during deployment and beyond deployment of solutions….(More)”.