A new issue of online journal Participations is out, focusing on “audiences” from multiple perspectives, e.g. comic book and music audiences. All articles are open access.
This issue of the journal Ephemera addresses the question of the (im)possibilities of the commons within contemporary capitalism. It considers the commons within a variety of manifestations, including the Open Software movement, Open Education movement, housing, academia, the arts and art education.
Ada is “first open-access, open source, online feminist journal on new media and technology”. First issue is out!
Digital desktop fabrication technologies such as 3D printing are currently being lauded in the popular press as a potentially socially transformative technology. The authors argue that more sustained attention should be paid to the ways in which 3D printing is entering into our creative environments.
Authors: Matt Ratto, University of Toronto in 2008; Robert Ree, professor at the School of Animation, Arts and Design at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, US.
Published in open-access journal First Monday
ABSTRACT - Digital desktop fabrication technologies such as 3D printing are currently being lauded in the popular press as a potentially socially transformative technology. We somewhat agree, arguing that 3D printing holds great socioeconomic implications, but also that more sustained attention should be paid to the ways in which 3D printing is entering into our creative environments. Our focus in this article is on the use of rapid prototyping by creatives such as architects, designers, and DIY advocates, since it is within these contexts where the popular themes of 3D printing are currently most concrete. To this end, in section one we provide some background for desktop digital fabrication, contextualizing 3D printing within industrial processes and Maker subcultures. In section two, we summarize our environmental scan of relevant popular and academic literature, using this to identify key trends in this area. We supplement this discussion in section three using our analysis of a ‘critical making’ session that took participants through a process of designing and printing simple objects as well as follow–up interviews with these participants. In the concluding section, we target four areas in need of future research.
Paper on the “future of smart cities”.
Authors: Sauro Vicini, Sara Bellini, Alberto Sanna, eServices for Life and Health, Milano, Italy.
Published in SMART 2012: The First International Conference on Smart Systems, Devices and Technologies.
Other papers from the conference can be accessed here.
ABSTRACT - What is the future of Smart Cities? The San Raffaele Scientific Institute (HSR)’s eServices for Life and Health unit in Milan strives to explore and push the boundaries of the Smart City concept through the ideation and implementation of smart services. Often, these services achieve their highest potential through Internet of Things, which enable the constituents of these services (users, products, environments) to be interconnected. In order to examine the dynamics between users, service touchpoints and Internet of Things, HSR decided to develop a methodology within a Living Lab framework and set up the City of the Future Living Lab. The City of the Future Living Lab is both a virtual and real research environment and community and embodies a Smart City (indeed it contains a university, laboratories, a hospital, offices, shops, a supermarket, post-offices, streets, parks, a light rail train and bus service, numerous ICTs, etc.). It therefore has exposure to all users and consumers of a city. This paper focuses on delivering an overview of the Living Lab methodology and the way it brings together people, environments, ICT and Internet of Things in the creation of e-Services designed by and around the end user. The paper presents the methodology and tools implemented for all the phases of the Living Lab process and presents the case of Living Labs as user-driven open innovation ecosystems for services for future Smarter Cities.
Open access article: http://www.thinkmind.org/index.php?view=article&articleid=smart_2012_2_50_40077
In this paper, the authors introduce an infrastructure that enables end-users to bring simple smart home devices into their homes and install them. The infrastructure makes use of equipment already present in many homes – Wi-Fi networks and smartphones – and is based on common web technologies.
Authors: David Thomas, Egil Hansen, both IT University of Copenhagen
Published in: undisclosed.
ABSTRACT- A number of smart home infrastructures and technologies exist. However, these are not commonly adopted by homeowners as they are often too expensive, complex and difﬁcult to retroﬁt in existing homes. We introduce an infrastructure that enables end-users to bring simple smart home devices into their homes and install them. Our infrastructure makes use of equipment already present in many homes – Wi-Fi networks and smartphones – and is based on common web technologies. We include a bootstrapping process to connect UI-less devices to Wi-Fi networks, and an approach to generate user interfaces for these devices. We have evaluated our designed infrastructure via a user test of an implemented prototype, and our evaluation participants found the prototype easy to install and use overall.
Access paper, open access: https://blog.itu.dk/SPCL-F2012/files/2012/06/5thingiesfordummies.pdf
This paper analyses recent contributions to the ‘smart city’ discourse, the context conditions under which it has emerged, the conceptual orientations developed, and the implementation strategies derived. It remains rather open what the actual pursuit of a ‘smart city’ is, and therefore, which winners and losers we are to expect from realization.
Title: Deconstructing Smart Cities: An Intertextual Reading of Concepts and Practices for Integrated Urban and ICT Development.
Author: Marc Wolfram, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden, Germany.
Published in proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Urban Planning and Regional Development in the Information Society GeoMultimedia 2012.
ABSTRACT - Concepts of ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ cities currently enjoy great popularity. They offer frameworks for interpreting certain linkages between information and communication technology (ICT) and urban development, and put forward a particular agenda for action. In this, they claim a broad legitimacy for guiding stakeholders, drawing on findings from a number of strands of scientific inquiry. Furthermore, building on the everlasting albeit problematic promise of technology as a key to resolve pressing societal problems, they equally constitute an attractive reference for actors at all levels and across sectors. But despite their striking virulence in research, policy and practice, it remains rather open what the actual pursuit of a ‘smart city’ is, and therefore, which winners and losers we are to expect from realization.
Against this backdrop this paper puts forward an intertextual reading of recent contributions to the ‘smart city’ discourse, probing in particular the context conditions under which it has emerged, the conceptual orientations developed, and the implementation strategies derived. It appears that, while suffering from affinities to technological determinism and urban entrepreneurialism, ‘smart cities’ largely neglect the need to select and balance goals for integrated urban and ICT development, and to develop suitable approaches for actually doing so. Instead, by conflating the descriptive and the normative, ‘smart cities’ tend to substitute an orientation at societal ends by an orientation at selected means, thus supporting path optimization but structurally evading radical urban change. Hence, in order to become meaningful for enhancing sustainable and resilient local development, such concepts need to be embedded within a much wider cultural change perspective that should underpin especially the social, ecological and political dimensions of ‘smart’ urban development. In particular, they need to strengthen their focus on and engagement with the governance of integrated urban and ICT development.
This paper focuses in particular on the usefulness of the concept of social innovation for the purposes of policy development. The goal is not to find the “true” definition of social innovation but to search for a useful framework on which to build sound policies that could tackle the complex social issues that have caused scholars and practitioners to pay attention to social innovation in the first place.
Authors: Carlo Borzaga (Prof. Economic Politics), Riccardo Bodini (Euricse).
Download the report: http://euricse.eu/sites/euricse.eu/files/db_uploads/documents/1338304696_n2082.pdf
MORE - Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest on the part of the scientific community (and, more recently, of policy makers) in the concept of social innovation. The notion of social innovation is particularly appealing in light of the difficulties facing traditional welfare systems and, more broadly, a development model essentially based on only two actors (the market and the state) that is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the growing and diversified needs of society. However, the uses and definitions of the concept are so disparate that it is becoming increasingly difficult to assess whether social innovation is in fact a helpful construct or just another fad that will soon be forgotten. This paper focuses in particular on the usefulness of the concept of social innovation for the purposes of policy development. Therefore, the goal is not to find the “true” definition of social innovation. Rather, it is to search for a useful framework on which to build sound policies that could tackle the complex social issues that have caused scholars and practitioners to pay attention to social innovation in the first place.
Building on a review of the literature, and in particular on a paper by Eduardo Pol and Simon Ville, we propose an approach that recognizes a degree of overlap between social innovation and business innovation, and argue that social innovation policy should focus on the subset of social innovation that does not overlap with business innovation. This is due to the fact that social innovations that overlap with business innovations tend to be profitable, and as such the market is amply equipped to supply them, perhaps with the support of existing business innovation policies. “Pure” social innovations, on the other hand, are not driven by a profit motive, and thus need either to be subsidized or to be developed by enterprise types that are not motivated by profit maximization. Indeed, by focusing on the characteristics of different enterprise types we find that not-for-profit enterprises with an explicit social mission are ideally suited to develop pure social innovation, even in the absence of public sector intervention. The paper then concludes that targeted policies should be more mindful of the role of different types of enterprise in generating social innovation, and, more broadly, that the debate on social innovation should be more closely aligned with the debate on the pluralism of enterprise forms.
This report focuses on basic neighborhood improvement strategies and lays out strategies for neighborhood revitalization focusing on strengthening community-level and city-wide institutions to support and reinforce success, and regional strategies for equitable housing and community development.
Authors: Peter A. Tatian, G. Thomas Kingsley, Joseph Parilla, Rolf Pendall, the Urban Institute, US.
Download the report here http://www.urban.org/publications/412557.html
MORE - Increasingly, researchers and practitioners recognize the need for neighborhood revitalization policies that improve conditions in neighborhoods where low-income and minority households are concentrated. Although there is a rich literature describing past efforts to revitalize distressed neighborhoods, this literature provides little concrete guidance for today’s policymakers. This What Works framing paper focuses on basic neighborhood improvement strategies and the specific mechanisms at work that provide “levers” for revitalization. The paper lays out strategies for neighborhood revitalization focusing on strengthening community-level and city-wide institutions to support and reinforce success, and regional strategies for equitable housing and community development. This framing paper is part of a series of field-building research agendas produced under the What Works Collaborative.
This paper describes the co-design of a neighbourhood event in Helsinki and they claim that “co-design processes can be crucial in designing for the ‘softer side’ of urban systems and communities”.
Authors: Bäckman, Liao, Marttila and Oguz, School of Art and Design, Aalto University, Finland.
Open access, download pdf.