Geographies of Co-Production: highlights of the RGS/IBG ’14 conference

The 3 days of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) or RGS/IBG  annual conference are always valuable, as they provide an opportunity to catch up with the current themes in (mostly human) Geography. While I spend most of my time in an engineering department, I also like to keep my ‘geographer identity’ up to date as this […]

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Mapping Connected Places on London’s Public Transport Network

I haven’t written much on this blog about the work I’m currently doing at UCL CASA.  As a Research Associate working on the Mechanicity with Mike Batty, I’m tasked with drawing meaning out of a massive dataset of Oyster Card tap ins and tap outs across London’s public transport network.  The dataset covers every Oyster …
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London - A Living Lab

Introducing the MSc and MRes Smart Cities at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Learn the New Science of Cities at University College London with the MSc in Smart Cities at The Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis from September 2014. APPLY NOW FOR SEPTEMBER ENTRY  As Course Director, i am pleased to announce the new MSc and MRes in Smart Cities, here at…

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MSc Smart Cities

Introducing the MSc and MRes Smart Cities at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Learn the New Science of Cities at University College London with the MSc in Smart Cities at The Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis from September 2014. APPLY NOW FOR SEPTEMBER ENTRY  As Course Director, i am pleased to announce the new MSc and MRes in Smart Cities, here at…

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IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia? Apparently, we are…

IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia?

Apparently, we are rapidly approaching the dawn of a technologically induced utopia – a promised land of sorts – a (not so) new claim that all of our problems are rapidly becoming a thing of the past…because overcrowded busses and late pizza will be resolved by the smartening-up of cities.

According to IBM’s 5 in 5 predictions:

“…cities can be hard unforgiving places to live…cities are tough, because they require us to live on their terms, but in five years the tables will turn. With cities adapting to our terms, with cloud-based social feedback, crowdsourcing, and predictive analytics, we’ll shape our cities to our evolving wants and needs, comings and goings, and late-night pizza hankerings. By engaging citizens, city leaders will be able to respond directly to our needs, and dynamically allocate resources…and pizza.”

No wonder there is an increasingly concerned chorus of critics objecting to the marketing language used by some proponents of “smart cities”, because they sense that corporate interests and government departments may well try to leverage the new technologies from the top-down, instead of the bottom-up approach preferred by an increasingly empowered citizenry.

There is a bit of truth mixed-in with the hype. It is true that bottom-up crowdsourced information feedback allows the city to self-organise – to dynamically adapt to both new and old opportunities and challenges – and to develop a sort of self-regulating city ‘consciousness’. But a more nuanced view is necessary when it comes to forecasting the end of all evils due to the the implied top-down mastery of all things complex… and this due to the somewhat simplistic notion of government officials sitting behind giant screens in new control centres.

A more rounded perspective can be found in new books by Anthony Townsend and Mike Batty, with a solid review (of both books) available from the New Scientist.

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IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia? According to…

IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia?

According to IBM’s 5 in 5 predictions:

“…cities can be hard unforgiving places to live…cities are tough, because they require us to live on their terms, but in five years the tables will turn. With cities adapting to our terms, with cloud-based social feedback, crowdsourcing, and predictive analytics, we’ll shape our cities to our evolving wants and needs, comings and goings, and late-night pizza hankerings. By engaging citizens, city leaders will be able to respond directly to our needs, and dynamically allocate resources…and pizza.”

There is an increasingly concerned chorus of critics objecting to the marketing language used by some proponents of “smart cities”, because they sense that corporate interests and government departments may well try to leverage the new technologies from the top-down, instead of the bottom-up approach preferred by an increasingly empowered citizenry.

There is a bit of truth mixed-in with the hype. For example, it is true that bottom-up crowdsourced information feedback allows the city to self-organise – to dynamically adapt to both new and old opportunities and challenges – and to develop a sort of self-regulating city ‘consciousness’. But a more nuanced view is necessary when it comes to forecasting the end of all evils due to the the implied top-down mastery of all things complex…

A more rounded perspective can be found in new books by Anthony Townsend and, from a scientific perspective, Mike Batty, with a solid review of both books available from the New Scientist.

Continue reading »

IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia? According to…

IBM 5 in 5 – smart city induced utopia?

According to IBM’s 5 in 5 predictions:

“…cities can be hard unforgiving places to live…cities are tough, because they require us to live on their terms, but in five years the tables will turn. With cities adapting to our terms, with cloud-based social feedback, crowdsourcing, and predictive analytics, we’ll shape our cities to our evolving wants and needs, comings and goings, and late-night pizza hankerings. By engaging citizens, city leaders will be able to respond directly to our needs, and dynamically allocate resources…and pizza.”

There is an increasingly concerned chorus of critics objecting to the marketing language used by some proponents of “smart cities”, because they sense that corporate interests and government departments may well try to leverage the new technologies from the top-down, instead of the bottom-up approach preferred by an increasingly empowered citizenry.

There is a bit of truth mixed-in with the hype. For example, it is true that bottom-up crowdsourced information feedback allows the city to self-organise – to dynamically adapt to both new and old opportunities and challenges – and to develop a sort of self-regulating city ‘consciousness’. But a more nuanced view is necessary when it comes to forecasting the end of all evils due to the the implied top-down mastery of all things complex…

A more rounded perspective can be found in new books by Anthony Townsend and, from a scientific perspective, Mike Batty, with a solid review of both books available from the New Scientist.

Continue reading »

ESRI Urban Observatory- the right model for city crowdsourcing?

This month ESRI made an interesting move into the field of global city data with the launch of Urban Observatory (TM). The site has some great interactive visualisation ideas with simultaneous mapping of three interchangeable cities, linked navigation and indicator selection. It provides an intuitive interface to explore the diverse forms of world cities- Furthermore this … Continue reading

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ESRI Urban Observatory- the right model for city crowdsourcing?

This month ESRI made an interesting move into the field of global city data with the launch of Urban Observatory (TM). The site has some great interactive visualisation ideas with simultaneous mapping of three interchangeable cities, linked navigation and indicator selection. It provides an intuitive interface to explore the diverse forms of world cities- Furthermore this … Continue reading

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