City State - Toronto  Open  Data  Workshop  Ignite  Presentation
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City State - Toronto Open Data Workshop Ignite Presentation

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A presentation that I did at the Toronto Open Data Workshop on Nov 2, 2009.

A presentation that I did at the Toronto Open Data Workshop on Nov 2, 2009.

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    City State - Toronto  Open  Data  Workshop  Ignite  Presentation City State - Toronto Open Data Workshop Ignite Presentation Document Transcript

    • Hi,  I’m  Ma*hew,  and  I  work  for  a  design  strategy  firm  called   Norma<ve.   I’d  like  to  thank  Mark  and  team  for  organizing  this  event  and   recognize  the  leadership  our  city  is  providing  by  opening  up  its   data  to  the  world.   This  ignite  talk  is  called  the  New  Shape  of  the  City,  and  it’s  a   geeky  nod  to  a  few  different  authors  that  I  was  exposed  to  while   studying  environmental  planning.   1
    • I  love  the  no<on  of  Open  –  especially  that  it  works  in  so  many  contexts.    I’m  really   excited  about  the  fact  that  our  city  is  really  geJng  it.   The  thing  is,  if  we’re  learning  to  be  a  city  that  thinks  like  the  web,  we  need  to   recognize  that  “Open”  is  a  two  way  street.   One  way  informa<on  flows  won’t  cut  it.   2
    • When  I  think  about  my  open  city  data  dream  app,  the  no<on  that  Open  can  (and   should)  go  both  ways  is  the  core  feature,  func<onality,  message  and  value.   For  ci<zens,  it’s  not  just  about  what  you  can  take  out,  but  what  you  can  put  back.   City  State  is  a  tool  that  gets  us  comfortable  with  having  that  conversa<on.   3
    • Before  I  ended  up  doing  design  strategy,  and  prior  to  my  embrace  of  all  things  web,  I   was  a  GIS  guy.   I  ate,  drank  and  dreamed  GIS.  I  did  my  undergrad  in  GIS,  and  worked  in  GIS  research   labs  and  GIS  startups.   You  get  the  picture.   4
    • This  Allen  Ave.    My  car  is  the  red  one  right  in  the  middle,  and  my  house  is  right  beside   it.   We  take  this  data  for  granted,  even  though  5  years  ago  you  didn’t  see  it  outside  of   professional  GIS  circles.   This  is  an  image  of  the  city,  it’s  shape,  but  not  really.    It’s  just  a  picture.  It’s  not  a  city.   5
    • Down  at  street  level  is  where  the  real  data  flows,  where  the  interac<ons  happen.   Once  you’re  here,  you  realize  that  as  comprehensive  as  our  exis<ng  data  about  our   ci<es  is,  it’s  s<ll  pre*y  basic.   There’s  a  disconnect  between  our  physical  world  hardware  and  our  nascent  digital   analogs.   6
    • I  guess  what  I’m  trying  to  say  is  that  ci<es  are  like  computers  for  the  physical  world.   They’re  a  soYware  layer  for  our  interac<ons  with  the  physical  environment.   It’s  amazing  really.    You  put  raw  material  in,  and  ci<es  push  out  new  value.   Talk  about  parallel  processing.    We’ve  got  2.5  million  CPU’s  in  the  Toronto  model.   7
    • So  when  you  think  about  computers,  remember  that  you  don’t  just  read  data  from   your  storage,  you  write  to  it  as  well.   And  when  you  write  to  it,  it  becomes  available  for  reading.     And  if  you  put  it  on  a  network,  it  has  the  poten<al  to  become  something  special.     8
    • So  when  I  talk  about  my  open  data  dream  applica<on,  I’m  really  talking  about   enabling  the  beginnings  of  the  read/write  city.   I  want  to  see  our  city  work  like  a  big  old  hard  drive,  or  maybe  more  appropriately,  a   big  cloud  where  we  can  start  to  collect  and  share  stuff.   I  know  you’re  all  thinking  I’m  crazy.    What  about  privacy,  legal  concerns,  and  all  that   other  fun  stuff?       9
    • People,  it’s  always  been  a  read/write  city.    Always.   If  anything  the  last  century  did  more  to  turn  ci<es  into  read-­‐only  ci<es  than  any  other   period  during  the  history  of  ci<es.   I  don’t  blame  ci<es  by  the  way,  I  blame  the  20th  century  –  it’s  an  easy  target.   10
    • Richard  Feynman  gave  a  talk  in  1959  which  some  point  to  as  the  star<ng  point  of   nanotechnology.   In  it  he  talked  about  the  future  possibili<es  that  would  come  from  understanding  how   to  manipulate  and  construct  ma*er  at  an  atomic  scale.   More  than  having  one  single  point  for  his  talk,  he  wanted  to  get  people  thinking   about  what  it  meant  to  think  at  that  scale.   11
    • I’m  sugges<ng  in  some  ways  that  we  need  to  find  or  embrace  a  mind  shiY  like  Richard   Feynman’s.   We  need  to  rethink  scale  and  look  at  what  the  real  atoms  are  in  our  city,  and  what   that  means  for  open  data.   I  think  when  it  comes  to  data  flows,  there’s  plenty  of  room  at  the  bo*om.   12
    • This  is  because  in  my  mind,  down  at  the  bo*om,  ci<zens  make  the  best  sensors.   We’re  all  awesome  autonomous  li*le  nano-­‐computers,  working  inside  one  big   computer  called  Toronto..     We’re  awesome  at  data  collec<on;  built  for  it  in  fact.    It’s  just  really  hard  right  now  to   share  it  and  aggregate  it  outside  of  those  cron  job  elec<on-­‐type  things.   13
    • When  I  see  a  scene  like  this,  I  see  everything  that  makes  our  city  great.   So  many  forms  of  interac<on,  meatspace,  builtspace  and  digitalspace  all  blended  into   one.   I  wonder  how  we  can  start  to  do  something  that  makes  our  awareness  of  these   overlapping  worlds  more  explicit.   14
    • Right  now  in  my  mind,  we  need  a  form  field  for  the  state  of  the  city.       How’s  it’s  feeling,  what  it’s  doing.   Collected  as  discrete  inputs  from  our  ci<zen  sensors,  and  available  for  rollup,  firehose   drinking,  or  just  toe-­‐dipping.   15
    • In  “ The  Image  of  the  City”,  Kevin  Lynch  talked  about  how  individuals  perceive  and   navigate  urban  landscapes   They  form  mental  maps  of  how  they  interact  with  the  space.   I  say  that  as  we’re  star<ng  to  live  in  ci<es  that  are  now  forming  new  kinds  of  space   (informa<on),  we  need  to  help  people  build  new  mental  maps   16
    • If  we’re  opening  our  data,  making  it  two-­‐way,  and  (hopefully)  looking  to  do  this  in   real-­‐<me,  we  need  to  start  seeing  new  images,  and  new  maps.   Pulses  and  pa*erns  are  the  inputs  that  people  need  to  understand  their  city  as  it  adds   digital  informa<on  to  the  exis<ng  soYware  layer.    City  and  ci<zens  alike  need  this   data.   It’s  not  about  stalking  people,  it’s  about  showing  the  new  shape  of  the  city.    It’s  about   flocks,  not  individual  birds.   17
    • City  State  should  let  people  put  data  into  the  city.    Not  prescrip<vely,  but  emergently.   Don’t  tell  ci<zens  what  to  put  in  the  form  field;  let  them  decide  how  to  use  it.   We  know  what  to  do  with  Google,  and  we  kind  of  know  what  to  do  with  things  like   Twi*er,  so  I  don’t  see  why  we  can’t  figure  out  what  to  do  with  Toronto.   18
    • City  State  isn’t  about  pushing  out  new  features  for  users,  it’s  about  listening  and   reflec<ng.  It’s  about  star<ng  by  building  just  enough.    Minimum  Viable  Product  as   they  say  in  the  tech  startup  world.   The  data  will  define  itself,  just  like  Toronto  defined  itself  and  con<nues  to  do  so.   The  best  way  to  learn  from  emergence  is  to  reflect,  both  inwards  and  outwards.   Complexity  doesn’t  have  to  be  complex.   19
    • So  that’s  my  idea  for  this  app  concept  I’m  calling  City  State.   An  app  that  allows  ci<zens  to  act  as  simple  sensors,  to  give  back,  to  describe  the  state   of  the  city  in  real-­‐<me  from  any  place  at  any  instant.   And  we  get  some  raw  data  for  our  new  digital  city  soYware  layer  –  something  that   allows  the  city  and  its  ci<zens  to  begin  to  understand  the  new  shape  of  the  city.   20