Event at The Hub: Open Data, Smart Citizens?

by Scott Rodgers on January 9, 2015

Along with Myria Georgiou and a whole gang of others, Joel McKim and I have been helping to establish a new (and as-yet unnamed) London research network on media and cities. Like quite a few things in which I’m involved, the network has been on a bit of a slow burn for the past several months. Yet it is our earnest intention to get the network into full swing in 2015. So towards this I’m pleased to announce that an inaugural event on ‘Open Data, Smart Citizens?’ will be hosted by The Hub at Birkbeck on 27 January 2015, 7pm. Further details on the event are pasted below, but do also visit The Hub web link above to read about the Centre and other forthcoming events.

Image produced by Oliver O’Brien, UCL

Open Data, Smart Citizens?
27 January 2015, 7pm
Birkbeck, University of London
Keynes Library (Room 114), 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, WC1H 0PD

Although a relatively recent phenomenon, the concept and implementation of technologically-enabled ‘smart cities,’ has already generated much criticism. While some note the surveillance implications of supposedly ‘all-knowing’ and ‘all-seeing’ urban environments, others challenge the technocratic assumption that the automated ‘smart city’ will help overcome the limitations of an inherently unruly and inefficient citizenry.

Yet do these top-down, privatised and bureaucratic forms of urban management exhaust the possibilities of the smart city discussion? Or might the contemporary confluence of urban space and media technologies lead to more democratic and participatory alternatives? Could such developments as the expanded access to ‘big data’ and the information generated by sensor technologies help produce more small-scale, distributed or spontaneous forms of invention and intervention within the city?

This seminar – the inaugural event of a new London research network on media and cities – interrogates the possible consequences and potentials of open data for participation and citizenship in urban life. The event will begin with two short papers: Jennifer Gabrys (Goldsmiths) will speak on ‘Citizen Sensing, Smart Citizens and Rethinking the Problem of Urban Participation’; and Alison Powell (LSE) will speak on ‘Governing the Data City: Agency, Voice, and Augmented Space.’ Güneş Tavmen (Birkbeck) will then respond with some initial comments, followed by a discussion involving the audience. A wine reception will conclude the event.

Participation is open to all but registration is essential – please register you place at:


For more information, please get in touch with Joel McKim (j.mckim@bbk.ac.uk)or Scott Rodgers (s.rodgers@bbk.ac.uk)

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