Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SOFTCITY Report Summary

Project ID: 323636
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Ireland

Mid-Term Report Summary - SOFTCITY (The Programmable City)

The Programmable City project is investigating the relationship between networked digital technologies and infrastructures and urban management and governance and city life. In particular, it is concerned with how cities are increasingly being translated into code and data, and how these code and data are being used to transduce how we understand, manage, work, and live in the city and to produce ‘smart cities’. The project is centrally concerned with both uncovering specific processes of translation and transduction – how particular technologies are conceived, developed and deployed in practice and their consequence – but also their wider effects and implications in terms of fostering data-driven, networked urbanism and the creation of smart cities. To that end, a number of case studies are being undertaken in Dublin and Boston that focus on:

• smart city policy/programmes and municipal governance;
• the political economy of smart cities;
• the procurement and deployment of smart city technologies (waste management, smart lighting);
• open data, real-time data, urban dashboards and city management
• the constitution and work of urban socio-technical assemblages
• urban big data ecosystems and the production of urban big data and public administration data;
• the ethics, data privacy issues and security vulnerabilities of smart cities and urban big data;
• public participation, civic hacking and hackathons;
• the creation of smart city standards;
• social innovation and bike-share schemes;
• urban resilience and emergency management;
• smart grid technologies and new energy markets;
• wearable computing, locative social media and spatial behaviour;
• networked digital technologies and the changing nature of work practices;
• public administration homelessness data platforms and the construction of homelessness;
• socio-technological transformations of data modelling in Ordnance Survey Ireland;
• genealogy of the small area framework data file for Ireland.

This research is having an impact in two main ways. First, the project is actively contributing empirical and theoretical insights into big data (and urban big data specifically), ubiquitous computing, and smart cities – contributing to several academic debates across a number of disciplines concerning city governance and management, urban infrastructure and development, social innovation, civil society, openness and transparency, privacy and security, urban resilience, and work and labour practices. As well as producing a range of refereed articles, book chapters, books, working papers and blog posts, the project team have delivered a large number of invited talks in several countries. In addition, the project has fostered the academic exchange of ideas and findings through a seminar series and five workshops, all of which were recorded with the videos shared via the project website. Second, the project is actively working to translate the research into policy interventions and to influence the thinking and work of public sector bodies. Members of the team have actively advised specific city initiatives with respect to smart city issues, urban governance, and open data. The project team have acted in an advisory capacity to Dublin’s four local authorities, conducting scoping and case study research for them, and has provided an extensive public resource for the city, the Dublin Dashboard. In addition, it has advised a number of government departments including, Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Government of Northern Ireland Open Data Program, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Central Statistics Office, National Statistics Board, Dublin Housing Regional Executive Research, Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Cork Smart Gateway, Belfast, the City of Montreal, the City of Ottawa, Natural Resources Canada Mapping and Information Branch, and the Treasury Board of Canada Open Data Program.

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