The digitized city

How will we experience, navigate and understand the digitized, sensorized city whose deeper impacts are yet to unfold as the power of big data emerges with greater force. Disruptive user-driven business models supplying a constant cascade of information have changed the way cities work. Here Airbnb is in effect a hotel chain without hotels, where Uber allows everyone to be a taxi driver and where daily commentary on facilities and places makes Tripadvisor our critical friend.

The Helsinki Symposium on the 14th September 2015 will launch a longer term project aimed to finish in March 2016 with an international celebration of Forum Virium’s 10th anniversary, whose CEO Jarmo Eskilinen is writing ‘Cities in a Digital World’ with Charles.

For a century public data providers and statistical offices have held a near monopoly on information. That monopoly no longer exists and ironically their desire to open data themselves is helping to break down their own strong positions as activists, the business world and others embrace the opportunities provided by the digital world.
Interesting questions are emerging:

Do public and private actors have the skills, capabilities and resources to take advantage of ‘big data’? What is the new expertise and what new types of jobs are likely to emerge?

How do we deal with the imbalance where public authorities are increasingly willing to open their data while some private companies are jealously guarding their hoard of data?

The sensorized city is a data-producing ’machine’. How can we enrich this cascade of data and interpret its more subtle messages and content? How can we harvest more of the collective intelligence/feedback from various groups, such as public sector or company employees who can assess ’the pulse of their city’?

What are the boundaries of data sharing? How do we deal with security and privacy questions for instance with ’mydata’?

The smart sensorized city has both light and dark, negative implications. What is the ’dark side of the smart city’?

How do we deal with information overload and its psychological impacts? Will schemes evolve to protect people from data pollution?

We live in a visual culture and what are the new ways of interpreting and communicating data? What are the best examples of infographics and how is it evolving?

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