Data is fuelling innovation in cities but let’s also consider the type of data-enabled society that we are seeking to create.
Among all the noise about smart futures, it looks as if the really smart citizens will be the ones who are in control of their own data
The New Scientist
Data is more than “big”, it is HUGE! It is the oil of the Smart City – a commodity so valuable that pioneering companies who are first to locate and mine it will shape the future of cities for decades to come. More fundamental questions about where, as a data-enabled society, we are headed are less commonly discussed, perhaps because the issues are interconnected and complex. A variety of interested parties are actively trying out models, exploring the “new rules” that might define how we learn to live with data but they are reaching very different conclusions. For example,
Some Cities are taking a commercial approach: Copenhagen’s City Data Exchange makes public and private data accessible with the aim of powering innovation. The City Data Exchange offers raw data to its customers as well as analytical tools. The cost of gathering and processing data is recovered through subscription charges and service fees.
Some companies are talking a public approach: MyDex has developed a Personal Data Store to give citizens a central point of control for their personal information and the potential to authenticate their ID to third parties or share with other users of the platform.
Some cities are taking charge: Songdo in South Korea is one of a number of cities that have been wired up, with screens for video chat in homes, offices, and shops. Sensors are ubiquitous. Cars are tagged and tracked. Residents track heating and lighting usage in real time and compare it to neighbours. Designed and led centrally, some see sinister reflections of Big Brother.
Some communities are building capacity: Bristol’s Knowle West Media Centre has developed a methodology for Citizen Sensing, which positions citizens and communities as co-creators of smart city applications and services. Their emerging Data Commons also invites consideration of different forms of collective data curation and ownership.