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)”.
Collection of Essays by NL Digital Government: “Smart cities are urban areas where large amounts of data are collected using sensors to enable a range of processes in the cities to run smoothly. However, the use of data is only legally and ethically allowed if the data is gathered and processed in a proper manner. It is not clear to many cities what data (personal or otherwise) about citizens may be gathered and processed, and under what conditions. The main question addressed by this essay concerns the degree to which data on citizens may be reused in the context of smart cities.
The emphasis here is on the reuse of data. Among the aspects featured are smart cities, the Internet of Things, big data, and nudging. Diferent types of data reuse will also be identifed using a typology that helps clarify and assess the desirability of data reuse. The heart of this essay is an examination of the most relevant legal and ethical frameworks for data reuse.
The most relevant legal frameworks are privacy and human rights, the protection of personal data and administrative law (in particular, the general principles of sound administration). The most relevant ethical frameworks are deontology, utilitarianism, and value ethics. The ethical perspectives ofer assessment frameworks that can be used within the legal frameworks, for drawing up codes of conduct, for example, and other forms of self-regulation. Observance of the legal and ethical frameworks referred to in this essay very probably means that data is being used and reused in an appropriate manner. Failure to observe these frameworks means that such use and reuse is not appropriate.
Four recommendations are made on the basis of these conclusions. Local authorities in smart cities must commit themselves to the appropriate reuse of data through public-private partnerships, actively involve citizens in their considerations of what factors are relevant, ensure transparency on data-related matters and in such considerations, and gradually continue the development of smart cities through pilot schemes….(More)”.
Paper by Greig Charnock, Hug March, Ramon Ribera-Fumaz: “This article examines the evolution of the ‘Barcelona Model’ of urban transformation through the lenses of worlding and provincialising urbanism. We trace this evolution from an especially dogmatic worlding vision of the smart city, under a centre-right city council, to its radical repurposing under the auspices of a municipal government led, after May 2015, by the citizens’ platform Barcelona en Comú. We pay particular attention to the new council’s objectives to harness digital platform technologies to enhance participative democracy, and its agenda to secure technological sovereignty and digital rights for its citizens. While stressing the progressive intent of these aims, we also acknowledge the challenge of going beyond the repurposing of smart technologies so as to engender new and radical forms of subjectivity among citizens themselves; a necessary basis for any urban revolution….(More)”.
GovTech: “The New York state comptroller tasked his staff with analyzing the deployment of new technologies at the municipal level while cautioning local leaders and the public about cyberthreats.
New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the report, Smart Solutions Across the State: Advanced Technology in Local Governments, during a press conference last week in Schenectady, which was featured in the 25-page document for its deployment of an advanced streetlight network.
“New technologies are reshaping how local government services are delivered,” DiNapoli said during the announcement. “Local officials are stepping up to meet the evolving expectations of residents who want their interactions with government to be easy and convenient.”
The report showcases online bill payment for people to resolve parking tickets, utilities and property taxes; bike-share programs using mobile apps to access bicycles in downtown areas; public Wi-Fi through partnerships with telecommunication companies; and more….The modernization of communities across New York could create possibilities for partnerships between municipalities, counties and the state, she said. The report details how a city might attempt to emulate some of the projects included. Martinez said local government leaders should collaborate and share best practices if they decide to innovate their jurisdictions in similar ways….(More)”.
Introduction to Special Issue of Urban Analytics and City Science by Perry PJ Yang and Yoshiki Yamagata: “The direct design of cities is often regarded as impossible, owing to the fluidity, complexity, and uncertainty entailed in urban systems. And yet, we do design our cities, however imperfectly. Cities are objects of our own creation, they are intended landscapes, manageable, experienced and susceptible to analysis (Lynch, 1984). Urban design as a discipline has always focused on “design” in its professional practices. Urban designers tend to ask normative questions about how good city forms are designed, or how a city and its urban spaces ought to be made, thereby problematizing urban form-making and the values entailed. These design questions are analytically distinct from “science”-related research that tends to ask positive questions such as how cities function, or what properties emerge from interactive processes of urban systems. The latter questions require data, analytic techniques, and research methods to generate insight.
This theme issue “Urban Systems Design” is an attempt to outline a research agenda by connecting urban design and systems science, which is grounded in both normative and positive questions. It aims to contribute to the emerging field of urban analytics and city science that is central to this journal. Recent discussions of smart cities inspire urban design, planning and architectural professionals to address questions of how smart cities are shaped and what should be made. What are the impacts of information and communication technologies (ICT) on the questions of how built environments are designed and developed? How would the internet of things (IoT), big data analytics and urban automation influence how humans perceive, experience, use and interact with the urban environment? In short, what are the emerging new urban forms driven by the rapid move to ‘smart cities’?…(More)”.
Book edited by Nuno Vasco Moreira Lopes: “This book provides theoretical perspectives and practical experiences on smart governance for smart cities. It presents a balanced linkage between research, policies and practices on this area. The authors discuss the sustainability challenges raised by rapid urbanization, challenges with smart governance models in various countries, and a new governance paradigm seen as a capable approach able to overcome social, economic and environmental sustainability problems. The authors include case studies on transformation, adaption and transfers; and country, regional, municipal contextualization. Also included are best practices on monitoring and evaluating smart governance and impact assessment. The book features contributions from researchers, academics, and practitioners in the field.
- Analyzes smart governance for cities from a variety of perspectives and a variety of sectors – both in theory and in practice
- Features information on the linkage between United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and smart governance
- Covers the connection between research, policies and practice in smart governance for smart cities…(More)”.
María Verónica Alderete in Social Indicators Research: “The main objective of this paper is to discuss the key factors involved in the definition of smart city indexes. Although recent literature has explored the smart city subject, it is of concern if macro ICT factors should also be considered for assessing the technological innovation of a city. To achieve this goal, firstly a literature review of smart city is provided. An analysis of the smart city concept together with a theoretical framework based on the knowledge society and the Quintuple Helix innovation model are included. Secondly, the study analyzes some smart city cases in developed and developing countries. Thirdly, it describes, criticizes and compares some well-known smart city indexes. Lastly, the empirical literature is explored to detect if there are studies proposing changes in smart city indexes or methodologies to consider the macro level variables. It results that cities at the top of the indexes rankings are from developed countries. On the other side, most cities at the bottom of the ranking are from developing or not developed countries. As a result, it is addressed that the ICT development of Smart Cities depends both on the cities’ characteristics and features, and on macro-technological factors. Secondly, there is a scarce number of papers in the subject including macro or country factors, and most of them are revisions of the literature or case studies. There is a lack of studies discussing the indexes’ methodologies. This paper provides some guidelines to build one….(More)”.
Book edited by Stan McClellan: “This book explores categories of applications and driving factors surrounding the Smart City phenomenon. The contributing authors provide perspective on the Smart Cities, covering numerous applications and classes of applications. The book uses a top-down exploration of the driving factors in Smart Cities, by including focal areas including “Smart Healthcare,” “Public Safety & Policy Issues,” and “Science, Technology, & Innovation.” Contributors have direct and substantive experience with important aspects of Smart Cities and discuss issues with technologies & standards, roadblocks to implementation, innovations that create new opportunities, and other factors relevant to emerging Smart City infrastructures….(More)”.
Paper by Ellen P. Goodman and Julia Powles: “Cities around the world are rapidly adopting digital technologies, data analytics, and the trappings of “smart” infrastructure. No company is more ambitious about exploring data flows and seeking to dominate networks of information than Google. In October 2017, Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs embarked on its first prototype smart city in Toronto, Canada, planning a new kind of data-driven urban environment: “the world’s first neighborhood built from the internet up.” Although the vision is for an urban district foregrounding progressive ideals of inclusivity, for the crucial first 18 months of the venture, many of the most consequential features of the project were hidden from view and unavailable for serious scrutiny. The players defied public accountability on questions about data collection and surveillance, governance, privacy, competition, and procurement. Even more basic questions about the use of public space went unanswered: privatized services, land ownership, infrastructure deployment and, in all cases, the question of who is in control. What was hidden in this first stage, and what was revealed, suggest that the imagined smart city may be incompatible with democratic processes, sustained public governance, and the public interest.
This article analyzes the Sidewalk project in Toronto as it took shape in its first phase, prior to the release of the Master Innovation and Development Plan, exploring three major governance challenges posed by the imagined “city of the future”: privatization, platformization, and domination. The significance of this case study applies well beyond Toronto. Google and related companies are modeling future business growth embedded in cities and using projects like the one in Toronto as test beds. What happens in Toronto is designed to be replicated. We conclude with some lessons, highlighting the precarity of civic stewardship and public accountability when cities are confronted with tantalizing visions of privatized urban innovation…(More)”.