One of the interesting sites that I have come across recently is Urban Age. It has a related site called Writing Cities which has released a book that is available to download as a PDF. The chapter I’ve read is called “Sensor Narratives” (chapter eight) and it highlights what could happen when a city is instrumented with sensors and the data is made available. How will this change how people understand or interact with their city? Some issues it raises are:
- the extent to which datasets (and resultant visualisations or mashups) could be manipulated for political ends or to affect public opinion
- how the datasets could be tampered with
- the “unreliability” of sensor networks
- will the data match what really happens in the city?
- how what is actually being measured by the sensors, and their location, could determine the “story” they tell
- why education is needed to allow people to interpret what they see and make their own decisions as to its validity
It is refreshing to look at this subject from a cultural point of view rather than simply a technological one.