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The Programmable City

Objective

"Software is essential to the functioning of cities; a vital element in the operation and governance of travel, the built environment, consumption, work, home life, services and utilities. To date, analysis has focused on the technologies that software enables, rather than the actual code that renders the city programmable and knowable in new ways. We have thus failed to appreciate and understand a key mediator of urban change and city life. The project will provide a groundbreaking analysis of the emerging programmable city with respect to: (1) how the city is translated into software; (2) how software reshapes the city. It will examine these processes in relation to four key urban practices – how we understand, manage, work and live in the city. With respect to how cities are translated into software, the project will examine how cities and citizens are captured and processed as data; how ideas about city governance are composed into code; the geographies of software production; how software is discursively produced and legitimated by vested interests. With respect to how software reshapes cities, the project will examine: the rise of ‘big data’ and how data infrastructures and information systems are used to inform public policy development; how software is used to regulate and govern city life; how the activities and practices of work are being reshaped by computation; and how software transforms the spatiality and spatial behaviour of individuals. A range of methodologies will be employed, including interviews, ethnographies, audits, surveys, discourse analysis, and the development of a new method, algorithm archaeology. The project will address a serious lacuna in social science research by answering key questions concerning the nature of software and the changing production and management of cities and citizens. It will provide new theoretical tools and rich empirical evidence for thinking through the new era of programmable urbanism."

Field of science

  • /humanities/history and archaeology/archaeology
  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/software
  • /social sciences
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance/public services
  • /social sciences/political science/public policy
  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/data science/big data

Call for proposal

ERC-2012-ADG_20120411
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND MAYNOOTH
Address
Co Kildare
W23 Maynooth
Ireland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 309 925,80
Principal investigator
Robert Michael Kitchin (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Michael O'malley (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND MAYNOOTH
Ireland
EU contribution
€ 2 309 925,80
Address
Co Kildare
W23 Maynooth
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Robert Michael Kitchin (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Michael O'malley (Mr.)