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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Data Cultures in the Smart City

Type: Elective course (Journalism)
Area of studies: Journalism
Delivered by: School of Media
When: 4 year, 3 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of all HSE University campuses
Instructors: Natalia Grincheva
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course will focus on impacts of new urban policies on local cultures across digital and physical realities. It will specifically investigate different forms of data cultures as they emerge in the socio-material conditions within smart cities’ data ecologies. The course will explore current academic debates in urban media and smart city imaginaries across such critical topics as big data, human-centered design, data governance and provenance, smart city surveillance and social control, data citizenship and open data communities. The key goal of the course is to address the question of how advances in digital technologies and emerging data practices affect cities and urban life as well as shape smart city power dynamics among governments, corporations, data driven communities and residents.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims to introduce students to foundations in critical data theories in digital cultures and explore their relationships to smart urbanism
  • Students will master key approaches to understand, explore and critically analyze data practices of smart cities across different stakeholders from governments and corporations to citizen communities
  • Students will learn to recognize and analyze various data culture phenomena transforming and shaping smart city design and ecology
  • Students will develop a necessary vocabulary and conceptual understanding of data cultures to engage in debates related to smart cities as well as ethical, social, and political implications of their data practices
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to define and critically analyze data cultures within the context of smart city data infrastructure and governance.
  • Students will be able to define and discuss key issues of data provenance, specifically within the context of smart city governance, open data communities and different stakeholders across economic and political urban dimensions.
  • Students will be able to identify and critically analyze factors and contexts within which smart city data are interpreted and evaluated.
  • Student will be able to define and analyze the concept of a smart citizen and critically engage with current academic and urban debates on smart city citizenship.
  • Students will be able to identify and differentiate across different smart city surveillance mechanisms and practices and discuss their value and meaning in relation to such issues as urban security, data ethics and social/political control.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Data Cultures and power
    This topic explores different forms of data cultures as they emerge in the socio-material conditions within smart cities’ data ecologies. These cultures influence whether and how data are produced, processed, distributed and used as well as how they shape data properties, such as persistence, durability, spatiality, size, and mobility. It defines and analyses key factors that influence data cultures, including governance, urban power dynamics and implications.
  • Data Meanings
    This topic will address such questions as: What makes data meaningful? Is meaning hidden in the values and attributes of a data set or in the circumstances in which the data were collected and generated? It will explore data practices withing urban environments from the perspective of their role and space in the smart city epistemologies.
  • Data Provenance
    This topic critically analyses data provenance, defined as infor¬mation about the origin, context, or history of the data. It interrogates if smart cities can move beyond the creation, manipulation and analysis of data, understood as ontologically given, static and discrete phenomena. To do so, we problematize technical definitions of data provenance to emphasize its mediated and constantly changing nature amidst society and technology.
  • Data citizens
    This topic will pose the question of where are data citizens in two senses. The first concerns conceptions of and relations between “online” and “offline” lives, and “virtual” and “real” spaces. The second concerns conceptions of agency and power to question through what exact processes do data subjects become data citizens?
  • Data Communities
    This topic will critically discuss citizen science as a way to address issues of data surveillance by discussing the following questions: Are efficiency and minimizing risk considered more important than chance human encounters, imagination and dialogue? Is serendipity a missed opportunity or even a threat to a numerically and technologically smart city?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Final Quizz
  • non-blocking Seminar Presentation/Facilitation
  • non-blocking Final project
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.5 * Final project + 0.2 * Final Quizz + 0.3 * Seminar Presentation/Facilitation
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bartenberger, M., & Grubmüller-Régent, V. (2014). The Enabling Effects of Open Government Data on Collaborative Governance in Smart City Contexts. EJournal of EDemocracy & Open Government, 6(1), 36–48. https://doi.org/10.29379/jedem.v6i1.289
  • Christoph Lindner, & Miriam Meissner. (2019). The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries. Routledge.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • de Lange, M., Synnes, K. 1969, & Leindecker, G. (2019). Smart Citizens in the Hackable City: On the Datafication, Playfulness, and Making of Urban Public Spaces Through Digital Art. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science CyberParks – The Interface Between People, Places and Technology (pp. 157–166). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-13417-4_13
  • Keebaik Sim, Woo-Sung Hwang, & Myung-Ryu Choi. (2019). Building a New Smart City: Integrating Local Culture and Technology. Journal of Digital Convergence, 17(9), 193–198. https://doi.org/10.14400/JDC.2019.17.9.193
  • Mikel Emaldi, Sacha Vanhecke, & Erik Mannens. (n.d.). To trust, or not to trust: Highlighting the need for data provenance in mobile apps for smart cities∗.
  • Surveillance, privacy and public space in the Stratumseind Living Lab: The smart city debate, beyond data. (2019). Ars Aequi, juli/augustus, 570–579.