Introduction to the Programmable City Project

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Information about Introduction to the Programmable City Project

Published on May 18, 2014

Author: ProgCity



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.

The Programmable City Rob Kitchin NIRSA, NUIM Launch Event

The Programmable City • A European Research Council (ERC) and Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) funded • SH3: Environment and Society, €2.3m • Based at the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), NUI Maynooth • Team of 10 researchers • 1 PI; 5 postdocs; 4 PhD students • Key themes: software, ubiquitous computing, locative media, big data, smart cities

Aim To extend a decade of work that culminated in the book, Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life (MIT Press) through a detailed set of detailed empirical studies. Apply a Software Studies approach to cities

Code/Space book • Over time everyday life has become increasingly reliant on software • ... work, play, consume, travel, govern, communicate ... • It is almost impossible to live outside the orbit of software • Many systems would largely malfunction without software • Software, to varying degrees, conditions existence • Life and places are increasingly full of coded objects and coded infrastructures that support coded processes and combine to constitute coded assemblages

Coded objects • Nature of objects changing • Machine-readable objects • Coded objects • Codejects (DVD player, washing machine, digital thermostat) • Logjects • Impermeable logjects (MP3 player, GPS, camera) • Permeable logjects (mobile phones, satellite television)

Coded infrastructures • Coded infrastructure refers both to networks that link together coded objects and infrastructure that is monitored and regulated, either fully or in part, by code • Such coded infrastructure include: • computing networks (e.g. Internet, intranets) • communication and entertainment networks (e.g. mail, telephone, mobile phones, television, radio, satellite) • utility networks (e.g. water, electricity, gas, sewerage) • transport and logistics networks (e.g. air, train, road, shipping) • financial networks (e.g. bank intranets, stock markets) • security and policing networks (e.g. surveillance cameras)

Coded processes • Coded processes refer to the transaction and flow of digital data across coded infrastructure • Particularly important when they access, update, and monitor relational databases that hold individual and institutional data • Such databases can be accessed at a distance and used to verify, monitor (say for billing purposes) and regulate user access to a network, update personal files • Many such coded processes relate to bank accounts, mortgages, shares, taxation, insurance, health, crime, utility usage, service usage

Coded assemblages • Coded assemblages are where several different coded infrastructures converge, becoming integral to each other in producing particular environments, such as office complexes, transport systems, shopping centres, etc • For example, the coded infrastructures of water, electricity, gas, banks and mortgage lenders, commodities, Internet, telephone, mail, television, state database systems, etc, work together to create an assemblage that produces individual households • The power of assemblages is their interconnection and interdependence creating systems whose complexity and power are much greater than the sum of their parts

The Transduction of Space • Code makes a difference to everyday life because it transduces space – modulates how space is bought into being ‘as an incomplete solution to a relational problem’ • Relational problems include undertaking domestic tasks, travelling between locations, conducting work, communicating between people, and practicing consumption • Code/spaces are spaces dependent on code to function - mutually constituted • The relationship between code and space is dyadic – that is, without code the space would not be transduced as intended • Coded space is a transduction that is mediated by code, but whose relationship is not dyadic • Software mediates the solution to a problem, but it is not the only solution

New Modes of Governance • Software is employed as an regulatory agent • Directed surveillance • Automated surveillance that seeks to enforce more effective (self)disciplining • Capture systems that actively reshape activity • Voluntary systems/sousveillance • The regulatory environment of code/space is increasingly that of automated management • Automated in the sense that it is enacted by technologies and are automated, automatic, autonomous in nature

The Data Revolution book • a synoptic overview of big data, open data and data infrastructures • an introduction to thinking conceptually about data, data infrastructures, data analytics and data markets • a critical discussion of the technical issues and the social, political and ethical consequences of the data revolution • an analysis of the implications of the data revolution to academic, business and government practices

Data Assemblage Attributes Elements Systems of thought Modes of thinking, philosophies, theories, models, ideologies, rationalities, etc. Forms of knowledge Research texts, manuals, magazines, websites, experience, word of mouth, chat forums, etc. Finance Business models, investment, venture capital, grants, philanthropy, profit, etc. Political economy Policy, tax regimes, public and political opinion, ethical considerations, etc. Govern-mentalities / Legalities Data standards, file formats, system requirements, protocols, regulations, laws, licensing, intellectual property regimes, etc. Materialities & infrastructures Paper/pens, computers, digital devices, sensors, scanners, databases, networks, servers, etc. Practices Techniques, ways of doing, learned behaviours, scientific conventions, etc. Organisations & institutions Archives, corporations, consultants, manufacturers, retailers, government agencies, universities, conferences, clubs and societies, committees and boards, communities of practice, etc. Subjectivities & communities Of data producers, curators, managers, analysts, scientists, politicians, users, citizens, etc. Places Labs, offices, field sites, data centres, server farms, business parks, etc, and their agglomerations Marketplace For data, its derivatives (e.g., text, tables, graphs, maps), analysts, analytic software, interpretations, etc.

Objectives of Programmable City Project How is the city translated into software and data? How do software and data reshape the city? Translation: City into Code/Data Transduction: Code/Data Reshapes City THE CITYSOFTWARE Discourses, Practices, Knowledge, Models Mediation, Augmentation, Facilitation, Regulation

Sub-Projects Translation: City into code Transduction: Code reshapes city Understanding the city (Knowledge) How are digital data generated and processed about cities and their citizens? Tracey (PDR) How does software drive public policy development and implementation? Bob (PhD) Managing the city (Governance) How are discourses and practices of city governance translated into code? Sophia (PDR) How is software used to regulate and govern city life? Jim (PhD) Working in the city (Production) How is the geography and political economy of software production organised? Alan (PhD) How does software alter the form and nature of work? Leighton (PDR) Living in the city (Everyday Life) How is software discursively produced and legitimated by vested interests? Darach (PhD) To what extent does software change how places function and how people behave? (Sung-Yueh, PDR) Creating the smart city: Dublin Dashboard Gavin (PDR)

Approach & Case Studies • Case studies, interviews, ethnographies, genealogies, PAR, audits ... • Dublin, Boston and elsewhere • Interested in talking to potential partners

Rest of the Day • 10.30-11.30: Software and Cities Matthew Wilson (Harvard University) Quantified Self-City-Nation Martin Dodge (University of Manchester) Code and Conveniences • 11.30-12.30: Data and Cities Tim Reardon (MAPC, Boston) Putting Data to Work in Metro Boston Tracey P. Lauriault (NUIM A Genealogy of Open Data Assemblages • 12.30-13.30: Lunch • 13.30-14.00: Launch Sean Sherlock, TD., Minister for Research and Innovation 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 Adam Greenfield (LSE) Another City is Possible: Networked Urbanism from Above and Below • 15.00-15.45: The Programmable City project Snapshots of Programmable City PhD/Postdoc projects Gavin McArdle – Dublin City Dashboard • 15.45-16.00 Closing remarks Peter Finnegan, Director of International Research and Relations, Dublin City Council

Thank you @robkitchin @progcity #progcity MIT Press, 2011 Sage, Aug 2014

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