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Real Smart Cities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReaLsMs (Real Smart City)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

The overarching objective of the ReaLsMs is to develop and implement a perspective on the Smart City through critical
humanities research and innovation in the context of the Digital Studies. The joint research fields of ReaLsMs will be the
development of historical and philosophical underpinnings of the Data City and the implementation of the Smart City within
local governance structures, including Dublin City Council and Plaine Commune (Paris North). Consisting of a network of
three academic partners in the EU, Dublin Institute of Technology - School of Creative Arts, Computer Science and
Architecture, (DIT, IE), the Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation (IRI) at the Centre Pompidou (FR) and Durham University,
the Centre for Humanities Innovation (DU, UK). The 2 non-academic partners located in the EU are Dublin City Council
(DCC, IE) and Plaine Commune (FR). The Third Country academic partners is the Universidad de las Artes in Ecuador (UA,
Ecuador). The purpose of developing this consortium as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff
Exchange is to share knowledge across disciplines in order to develop transdisciplinary model for “real smart city,” which is
defined as a Smart City that is based on a critical humanities perspective, where citizens are the proper data brokers,
engaging through public fora for debate and new technologies that enable citizen participation. Through a international and
cross-sectoral network, the aim is to across sectors, allowing academic researchers to work with civic government and data
collection while non-academic partners can benefit from the insights of academic partners to create new forms of education
that illuminate the “black box” of Smart City technology. The expected outcome of research are a new transdisciplinary
epsiteme of the Smart and Data City that is rooted in Digital Studies and subsequently informed methods for handling data
collected through Smart City infrastructure.
"Over the last 24 months, the project has firmly established the Real Smart Cities network across all the partners of the consortium. The kick-off meeting of the network successfully took place on the 19th of Dec 2017 alongside the annual conference ‘Entretiens Du Nouveau Monde Industriel’ (ENMI) at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. On this occasion the conference dealt with issues related to Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. The communication channels of the project were opened in Jan 2018 with the publication of the website and the RealsMs twitter account.

After the initial meeting (Paris, Dec 2017), the network organized a Conference/ Doctoral Training Week in Durham (April 2018), four Conferences/Symposiums in Paris (March 2018, July 2018, Dec 2018 and Dec 2019), and one in Dublin (March 2019). Another big event focused on ‘archipelagic thinking’ and took place in Guayaquil/ Galapagos (July 2019). It took the form of an exhibition of socially engaged art practices and a symposium focusing on the development of the archipelago as a framework for conceptualising the digital network of the Smart City. The most recent real smart cities event took place in Dec 2019 and was hosted at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The conference entitled “International, Internation, Nations, Transitions: Thinking Localities within Globalisation"" was conceived as a response to Antonio Guterres and Greta Thunberg on the future of the nation state as a framework for the international order. It was conceived within the framework of the InterNation initiative, which lead to the submission of a memorandum to the United Nations at a press conference on the 10 of January 2020 (available to read online at There will be a publication in French and in English entitled ‘Elements of the response to Antonio Guterres and Greta Thunberg’ which has a chapter specifically on Real Smart Cities. Other chapters by RealSmS partners focus on broader interdisciplinary questions of digital studies (WP1), including the significance of locality and the impact of our current urban technological environments on mental health.

One main deliverable of this reporting period has been in relation to the development of a methodology of study for Digital Studies and Contributive Research. This deliverable has been delayed but its completion is expected for summer 2020. The report on the methodology is currently in the final stages of preparation and will be published as tool kit. In addition, we are currently working on an extensive publication of research results from the real smart cities project as a special issue of Ethics & Politics (high rated scopus journal). Estimated publication data is May-June 2020. In addition, in February 2020, Editions FYP (an imprint of the Centre Pompidou) will publish articles worked up from presentations given at the RealSmS event, ENMI 2018 (December), on ‘L’intelligence des villes et la nouvelle revolution Urbaine”. The collected volume has three papers from researchers from the real smart cities project. There have been several other single articles already published in open source journals (i.e. Ethics & Politics, La Deleuziana, Philosophy and Theory of Education, New Formations), book chapters, over 50 conference papers, 6 online seminars, and 5 public communications (videos and public talks). The proceedings from the Symposium Guayaquil Archipelago will be published by the University Publishing Press by the University of the Arts in Guayaquil Ecuador in mid 2020."
The development of the methodology of contributory research will be a result of this project as a well as the development of a model for Territorial Experimentation of contributory research and the contributory economy. For the development of contributory research and the contributory economy it is expected that the activity in Plaine Commune will be used to develop these models. Research-led training has been taking place at the host institution IRI, in conjunction with Plaine Commune (M1-M24). As the world’s leading centre for digital studies research and a principal engineer of the Plaine Commune experimental learning territory. Together with the five IRI ESRs already resident at Plaine Commune, two ESRs from Durham and two from TU Dublin have spent time in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis working on the implementation of contributory digital research activities in Plaine Commune. They have also engaged with creating mechanisms of evaluation and accreditation to encourage local participation in real smart city projects, exploring such research questions as: What existing digital platforms are there for the annotation, categorisation and interpretation of big data, what forms of territorial experimentation do they permit and do they go far enough in affording possibilities for the creation of collective social intelligence? To what extent can we design for open digital platforms that give citizens free rein over the kinds of contributive projects they are able to develop? The ongoing development of a model of participation in the development of contributive research and contributive economy has led to the recommendation that the question of locality needs to be better integrated into the model.
Technical Report Summary for publication cover image