Tom van Arman
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Next week, as part of We Make the City, we will be demonstrating some of the latest camera and object recognition technology and discuss the past, present and future of neighborhoods and how they relate to public data collected as a service solution vs a surveillance system.
Join us on Thursday June 21 at 2PM at Makerversity (part of the Marineterrien) for a thought provoking panel of guests including: Marc Schoneveld (DataLab), Bert Spaan (city data applications), Kim Smouter (Head of Public Affairs & Professional Standards, ESOMAR) and Tom van Arman (CITIXL).
Signup here: http://bit.ly/2JMLreQ
Why are we doing this?
The Chinese social credit system (SCS) was rolled out in 2014 and is planned to be fully implemented by 2020. That means that more than 1.4 billion Chinese either are currently or will be registered and tracked within the next few years. The Chinese government claims to use the system to both regulate the economy and individual citizen behavior by monitoring “trustworthiness”. According to the policy "It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility." The Chinese government gathers information about its citizens’ including facial recognition, online behavior, spending, travel, social interactions and more. It is using this big data to provide individuals a social score that if high leads to privileges, but if low restrictions or punishment such as slower internet, restricted borrowing, travel bans, lowered status in dating apps and yes even less toilet paper in public restrooms.
This isn’t a Black Mirror episode,. Research shows that more than 90% of people rely on online reviews, so why not people reviews? While the Chinese government is using SCS to encourage trustworthy behavior, private industry is also venturing into people reviews and ratings. One such company, Peeple, released an app that allows individuals to review friends, colleagues, babysitter, dates and even enemies. The idea of this app outraged many in 2015 when it was unveiled and it has struggled to gain followers, but it could be just a matter of time before social rating systems become a way of life… and is it really so different from China’s SCS?
What are the dangers of this type of social scoring? Perhaps more importantly, what are the implications of harnessing big data from our traditional public commons? We have long had CCTV cameras in many of our big cities, including Amsterdam, for security purposes, but now technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can use this data, combine it with other data and the use-cases are boundless. But the question is who will decide how this data should be used and when is it in the best interest of our citizens?
They say history repeats itself and I cannot help but recall what happened here in the Netherlands…back in 1936 it became mandatory for each Dutch municipality to maintain a demographic record of its inhabitants and by 1939 everyone was required to carry a persoonskaart or a personal id card that contained information deemed important by the Nederland Bureau of Statistics including gender, age, religion, pollical party, heritage or “ethnic origins.” All of the information was stored centrally using, at the time, a technologically advanced “Hollerith punch-card” system. While the Dutch government collected and held the data for the best intentions, we all know what happened when Germany invaded and gained access to all of the centrally held data and processing power.
Fast forward 82 years and we no longer need personal identity cards when most of today’s cameras can recognize our faces in public and private domains. Should we be concerned? Is there a way to embrace technological advances for the “good” and somehow mitigate the risks? The famous historian, philosopher and author Yuval Harari said in his TedTalk that he “never underestimates human stupidity.” What I think he means by this is that history repeats itself in various ways and we often think it is a completely new situation, but it is often the same problem in a new context. For example there are lots of rights we rights we 21st century consumers will wave if we have to sacrifice convenience. The disruptive technology of today is a double-edged sword with wonderful potential to solve many of our world’s most pressing problems, but that potential also can, if we do not critically assess, have horrendous consequences. We, as citizens need to take responsibility and educate ourselves about what is happening in our increasingly complicated world. Unfortunately, it is as grave as it sounds. There is no reset button. It is our responsibility to make smart choices now for our future.
What is the future of architecture and urban planning in our hyper-digital era? The ubiquity of smart phones and the internet of everything (IoT) are producing colossal amounts of data that, when used responsibly, become blueprints of how to build sustainable and inclusive cities like Amsterdam - now home to many new ‘species’ of technology and innovation.
Join us Thursday, 14 June @9pm for a Smart City “Safari” to discover these solutions in their natural habitat and how they are making smart cities like Amsterdam more responsive and resilient. For the first time, you’ll be able to explore a whole new world along the Amsterdam Waterfront at at sunset.
I’ve teamed up with Eli5.io to develop a prototype AR app (Augmented Reality) to show fellow architects and urban planners some technologies that are vital to our future cities, but normally invisible to the public eye.
With your own phone you’ll be able to locate the many air & water quality sensors, citizen kits, LoRa transmitters, eBike sharing, iBeacons, Smart Waste, Blue Roofs, clean tech and many more living smart city solutions. During this 30-40 minute walk we’ll be exploring the business cases like “What problem does this device solve for the city?”, “How do these technologies impact architects and urban planners?”, “How do the citizens benefit from these solutions?”.
At 9pm we’ll meet at iAmsterdam (VVV) Visitor Centre op het Stationsplein, Amsterdam. From Central Station we’ll walk along Oosterdokskade through the Nemo alto MarineTerrein and finish w/ drinks at Pension Homeland.
Also, We’re looking for field testers! Do you have a iPhone 6+ ? you can help test the new beta version of The Smart City Safari App by replying below, or contacting me directly!
Organised by: Club-A - Amsterdams architectennetwerk Club A is een initiatief van de BNA (regio Amsterdam).
Tour by: Tom van Arman
App by: Eli5.io & Tapp
Last week we hosted The Future Of Mobility Workshop at the SmartCities NY ’18 Conference where we demonstrated how The Netherlands is the leader in smart, safe and sustainable mobility.
We divided the participants into 5 workgroups to speak with the industry leaders like Goudappel, Deloitte, TWTG, RAI / Intertraffic, Yazamtec, OC Mobility, 2GetThere, TomTom & Atos, Delivery-bike, Lumiguide to demonstrate Dutch solutions on themes “Future Mobility Planning”, “Smart Parking”, “Autonomous First And Last Mile Solutions”, “Urban Data And Smart Mobility Solutions”, & “Green Mobility”.
To see the video summary visit: https://youtu.be/HzDvvjSaOZk
There were 60 participants attending the workshop to learn from the experts and showcase why The Netherlands offers a rich ecosystem of world class suppliers, knowledge institutes and service providers. From design, architecture, car and equipment manufacture through to innovative new technologies and green smart mobility solutions.
Did you know:
1. The Dutch were the first to map the world in the Middle ages... TomTom Dutch company delivering over 550,000,000 (yes, 550 million) data points per day
2. The Netherlands is the only country in which real autonomous vehicles move people among normal traffic
3. With over 90,000 EVs charged every day, the Netherlands operates one of the world’s largest and most advanced charging infrastructures.
4. KPMG and Roland Berger named the Netherlands global frontrunner in Future mobility (prepared for Autonomous driving, disruptive tech)
5. NL is the only country in the world that facilitates multimodal trip planning with one chip card
6. >90% of the chips in your car, cellphone are produced on a machine built in the Netherlands/Brainport Eindhoven by ASML
7. In the Netherlands the world’s first shockwave reduction project, which applies car2x communication in ‘normal’ traffic, was introduced on a highway that is equipped with cooperative roadside units (WiFi-P)
8. The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world with the most bicycles fully integrated bicycles in the mobility system
9. The Netherlands has the most cost efficient public transport
10. The Dutch automotive sector employs 55,000 people, most of whom work in the ancillary supply domain.
The Future of Mobility Conference was organised by AMSiXL and Brainport Eindhoven
For more information about upcoming future mobility workshops contact me at: email@example.com
We are hosting a dry-run workshop on Monday, 30 April @16-18:00 on the Marineterrein where you’ll meet some “captains of the industry” like @TomTom, @2getthereBV, @Deloitte, @Atos & @Cycling_Embassy
If you’re interested to join email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Netherlands is ‘driving’ the future of mobility. Whether it’s smart, green or safe mobility, The Netherlands is home to many hotbeds of innovation and expertise ranging from car sharing, MaaS solutions, EV vehicles, autonomous driving living labs, smart traffic control systems and smart signs.
For the upcoming New York Smart Cities ’18 Conference we are organising a hand-ons prototyping “Future Of Mobility” Workshop together with Brainport and
Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Ten years ago, during the “Great Recession” cash strapped cities began to outsource complex municipal projects to big-tech companies like IBM, Cisco, Oracle & Google. For these companies, city making became a new marketplace to test new products and services. What is the future of urban planning in our hyper-digital era and big-tech partnerships?
The ubiquity of smart phones and the internet of everything (ioT) is producing colossal amounts of data that becomes a blueprint of how to build sustainable and inclusive cities. Data has not only entered our homes and businesses, it’s becoming the core component to our smart cities. All of this data is giving software companies more power than ever, or, as Google’s sister company Side Walk Labs describes, it allows us to reimagine cities from the internet up leaving many architects and urban planners out of touch with the growing divide between the physical and digital domains.
Urban design, as we know it, is changing fast. Architects and planners are faced with the new reality that city officials require more innovative approaches to the challenges facing our urban environments. Master plans and zoning laws of the past are difficult to adhere to in a fast-paced era of autonomous vehicles, shared economies and climate change. With each new challenge, new partners are flooding the scene who can manage and make sense of this data but have little knowledge of urban planning.
Tech companies know more about our cities and citizens than our governments.
Between our purchase habits to point cloud scanning from self-driving vehicles, technologies make it possible for tech companies to gather huge amounts of data about us and how our cities operate. With this data “we have an opportunity to fundamentally redefine what urban life can actually be.” The lines between urban planning and business are becoming blurred. The challenge for architects and urban designers is to leverage the data to create sustainable environments for future generations, while the societal and environmental challenges of today can no longer be solved with same spatial design tools of yesterday.
When high-tech “experiments” don’t include the communities that occupy the cities, the consequences are predictable. For instance, one of the best examples today is Google’s Toronto Waterfront Development. This $1bn district will not only house Toronto’s growing tech industry, but also the new nerve center of Google Canada’s HQ. Google will be able to gather massive amounts of data. As Wired’s Susan Crawford writes: “Multitudes of sensors inside and outside buildings and on streets will be constantly on duty, monitoring and modulating. While the details of the arrangement aren’t public, the planning process is being paid for by Google, but that won’t continue unless government authorities reach an agreement that aligns with Google’s corporate interests.”
There are dozens of other examples like this. In each case, companies sell, manage and operate various municipal enterprise accounts that promise efficient, convenient, safer future cities. Some might not see this as a problem, but these smart cities are not built with commons in mind, but rather with an eye on corporate revenues and the intent to further refine product and service testing.
The good examples…
The most robust & resilient examples of smart cities are those that involve citizens throughout the process. Whether it’s Helsinki, London, Stockholm, Melbourne or New York, each of these smart cities share the vision to improve public services and quality of life through the use of disparate data that originates from various urban stakeholders.
Recently, the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) added “architecture for social purpose’ as the first topic of its latest core curriculum update. This topic encompasses the concept of understanding the social, economic and environmental benefits that architecture as a practice brings to both individuals and communities (https://architecture.com/knowledge-and-resources/knowledge-landing-page/what-is-architecture-for-social-purpose). Engineering firm Arup estimates that the global market for smart urban services will be $400 billion per year by 2020, but if these smart solutions are to work - a precondition should be to engage citizens and stakeholders as early as possible in the development.
One example of these new private / public engagements is Chicago, Illinois, USA. Chicago has harnessed data is through the Connect Chicago initiative with Cisco to enhance public safety and security despite limited budgets. Chicago’s open data portal has over 600 datasets that can be used in a number of different ways including: the development community to create local apps to improve traffic flow, businesses to develop and market services such as SweepAround.us (an app that alerts residents when street sweepers are in the area) and the City to monitor vehicles, residence smart phones, cameras and even gunshot detection.
Here in Amsterdam we are busy with innovation and new partnerships. Amsterdam boasts 20 IoT living labs, more than 250 smart city projects, more than 360 open and real time open datasets and 40,000 proactive city makers who actively collaborate in the numerous public-private partnerships. Amsterdam’s innovative ways and forward thinking has been recognized as The European Capital of Innovation Award in 2016. The city regards itself as an open platform for livability, innovation & digital social innovation. In 2017 it won the World Smart City Award for Circular Economy for its efforts to develop policy for urban-level circular economics in several areas, including: local production of sustainable and seasonal food, scores of sharing platforms, local production of electricity, reduction of fuel consumption and the improvement of waste recycling. Amsterdam is also known for IoT and bottom-up data initiatives like joint ownership and other innovative procurement processes making Amsterdam a truly inclusive city meeting the many needs of its citizens, government and business stakeholders.
Resistance to the changes that continue in city and urban planning is futile. Architects and urban designers need to embrace and even experiment with this new data and digital trends, but also get serious about a participatory process that involves private-public partnerships. We need to engage stakeholders in frank discussions about the shape of our future cities. Architects need to embrace innovation in order to remain relevant. They need to bridge the divide between cities in the classical sense that are no longer viable and engage with citizens and companies build viable cities of the future that engage citizens, utilize data and allow for flexible development.
In Amsterdam at the Innovation Exchange Lab we work directly with elected officials, citizens from and private partners to create rapid prototypes to create viable and resilient cities built by and for everyone.
Tom van Arman is an architect & urbanist based in Amsterdam who works with local governments, industry leaders and maker-communities to create living labs. Co-founder AMSiXL and director of Tapp - an award winning smart city development consortium helping corporations and local governments connect maker communities to open data, api’s & IoT solutions.
Image Credit: 10sec Animation to HBO hit series Silicon Valley. Credit yU+co, Holywood California USA
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