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Research Workshop: Smart Cities and Big Data

69 researchers from 15 countries came together in Aarhus to share perspectives on Smart Cities and Big Data

Godsbanen and Institute for (X)

On 4 April 2014, AU Smart Cities, together with PIT and the Mobile Media and Communication Research Network in Denmark, invited interested researchers to take part in a one-day research seminar to share perspectives on the situation of Smart Cities and Big Data.

Smart Cities and Big Data are relatively new buzzwords, but why? The relationships between urban and technological developments are ancient, and so are humanity’s attempts to store and analyze information to the maximum of its collective capacity.

To a large degree the recent interest in Smart Cities and Big Data has aroused from the ubiquity of both media and messages, the speed—metabolism, as it were—, the commodified access to enormous and complex information manipulation systems: media, smart phones and Facebook, to name dominant examples.

The aim of the one-day research workshop was to encourage researchers and disciplines to meet and (net)work together, to share their views on the situation, and discuss what issues are most acutely in need of being better understood.

Two of the big issues discussed were the infrastructure and governance of data. The systems do not only have communicative qualities; they are connected, reciprocally to sensors and actuators, not just as part of their immediate interfaces, but everywhere, forming what appears to be a new situation. The rapidly increasing complex mediation—and exclusion—potentials are a profound challenge for societies to keep up with, and as with all big societal challenges, one which requires a sensitive and multifaceted apparatus to grasp and influence.

Apart from panel discussions about Smart Cities, Big Data, Methods, Infrastructures, and Governance, the workshop included two keynote talks by Adam Greenfield (Urbanscale/LSE Cities, London School of Economics) and Kaj Grønbæk (Aarhus University).

The research workshop was hosted on April 4, Godsbanen Aarhus, by AU Smart Cities, the Participatory IT Centre, both at Aarhus University, in conjunction with the Danish Mobile Media and Communication Research Network. Workshop chairs were: Martin Brynskov and Anja Bechmann.

Click here to see the program for the workshop.

After the workshop, Adam Greenfield wrote this thoughtful blog post about the Godsbanen and its relation to the topic of smart cities called Practices of the Minimum Viable Utopia.

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