Announcing the October 18th Array of Things Public Meeting at Association House

Continuing the Array of Things Civic Engagement Work from 2016, we’re pleased to announce a new public meeting on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Event: Array of Things Public Meeting

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Location: 1116 N Kedzie Ave –Association House. Note that the meeting will take place in the 1st floor cafeteria.

RSVP: Learn more and confirm your attendance at bit.ly/1018aotmeeting

This is an open meeting. Everyone is invited and no knowledge of technology or sensors is required to be a welcome, meaningful addition to the event. Though we’re collecting RSVPs online, not that walk-ins are very welcome — we’re just asking for RSVPs to assist us with estimating food.

This meeting is hosted by the Association House, a vital community anchor institution and local leader providing essential educational and workforce development services everyday. According to their website:

Since 1899, Association House has worked with Chicagoans who seek tools to lead more productive lives. It is one of the oldest “settlement houses” in Chicago originally designed to provide relief and guidance to new immigrants. Today, Association House is a vital resource to under-served, multicultural communities, providing collaborative programs in English and Spanish. We promote health and wellness, educational advancement, and economic empowerment. With a staff of over 200 professionals, Association House impacts the lives of nearly 20,000 children, individuals and families each year in the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, West Town, Logan Square, Avondale, Hermosa, and beyond.

Given Association House’s leadership and history, we’re so pleased that they are hosting this important civic conversation about how new technologies can be informed by residents and advance local goals and quality of life. The Array of Things project is a collection of multi-purpose sensors that will collect data about the livability factors in our city like air quality, noise pollution, and flooding. These data will fuel new research about Chicago neighborhoods.

Here is the flyer for this meeting:

The purpose of the 2017 Array of Things Public Meetings is educate the public on the Array of Things project and host neighborhood level conversations about hyperlocal research priorities and partnerships. This engagement work began in 2016 with resident-driven conversations about how smart city technologies can be governed and leveraged to improve our communities. You can read more about our goals and model for this civic engagement work here.

If you are interested in attending the Array of Things Public Meetings or would like to receive updates about the projects as well as information about future events or trainings, please fill out this form:

Fill out my online form.

The Array of Things Project is also soliciting community suggestions and ideas about sensor placement. If you would like to submit your idea, make sure to fill out this form on the Array of Things website.

Photo from the 2016 Array of Things Public Meeting at the Lozano Public Library

Inclusive Innovation for Smart Cities: HUBweek 2016

unknownThis September I had the opportunity to attend HUBweek and participate in the roundtable “#Tech4Democracy: Meet the Change Makers.” The event, hosted by the Harvard Ash Center, explored the potential and pitfalls of digital technology in realizing democratic values such as participation, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and equal representation. I was honored to join amazing leaders in the field: Seth Flaxman from DemocracyWorks, Rey Faustian from One Degree, and Tiana Epps-Johnson from the Center for Technology and Civic Life right here in Chicago.

One of the major themes of HUBweek was inclusive innovation. That theme is certainly worth discussing within the context of smart city work. Inclusive innovation in smart cities could mean everything from building usable tools, building equitable technology infrastructure, or having ethical data collection practices. During the roundtable conversation our moderator asked me the question below which has sit with me ever since:

What would be a “home-run” in the smart city space: an innovation that the city could adopt that would make a big, positive difference in the lives of Chicagoans?

Though it would have been tempting to brainstorm a cool, hypothetical “home-run” piece of technology on the spot, my mind gravitated toward innovative processes, not tools. This might be because here at Smart Chicago, we just wrapped up the Array of Things Civic Engagement Project which challenged us to create an inclusive process for gathering feedback on Chicago’s newest “smart city” project.  Of course, if things happen the way we think they will, cities will only get smarter. Array of Things is unlikely be the last “smart city” innovation deployed in Chicago’s public spaces. Given that, perhaps a lasting, valued innovation would be the creation of a values-driven smart city process — a framework we can follow to ensure that current and future smart city projects are deployed with residents and for residents. After all, these projects — whether are they sensors, fiber networks, or Wi-Fi kiosks — shouldn’t just be innovative or new. We should also expect these smart city technologies to be accessible, welcoming, relevant, and usable.

You can listen to the whole event on soundcloud. The roundtable begins on 4:50:

Smart Chicago Ash Fellow Glynis Startz featured on Microsoft Chicago’s Civic Chat

This year at Smart Chicago we were pleased to host Glynis Startz, a Harvard Ash Center Summer Fellow in Innovation. As an Ash Fellow hosted by Smart Chicago, Glynis assisted as a writer, thinker, and strategist on the Array of Things Civic Engagement Project.

More about the fellowship:

The Ash Center’s Summer Fellowship is designed to prepare students for careers in the public sector. Students work with some of the most creative and effective public officials and policy advisors in the country, not only to learn but to add value by sharing cutting-edge trends and ideas explored at the Kennedy School.

Glynis was featured on Microsoft Chicago’s Civic Chat on Advisor.tv. Watch the video linked below to learn more about Glynis and Smart Chicago’s 2016 civic engagement work with data and the Internet of Things.

http://microsoft-chicago.com/2016/09/14/civic-chat-networking-our-neighborhoods-glynis-startz-ash-center-fellow/?src=%22Staff%22

Here are all of the blog posts that Glynis wrote while she was working with us:

To learn more about the civic engagement process behind Array of Things and its privacy and governance policies, read our Array of Things Engagement Report.

Launch of Array of Things

This week Array of Things project launched, installing the first of its sensors in Chicago.

Here is an excerpt from the official announcement:

Array of Things is designed as a “fitness tracker” for the city, collecting new streams of data on Chicago’s environment, infrastructure, and activity. This hyper-local, open data can help researchers, city officials, and software developers study and address critical city challenges, such as preventing urban flooding, improving traffic safety and air quality, and assessing the nature and impact of climate change.

In the first phase of the project, 50 nodes will be installed in August and September on traffic light poles in The Loop, Pilsen, Logan Square, and along Lake Michigan. These nodes will contain sensors for measuring air and surface temperature, barometric pressure, light, vibration, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and ambient sound intensity. Two cameras will collect data on vehicle and foot traffic, standing water, sky color, and cloud cover.

Smart Chicago partnered with Array of Things operator, UrbanCCD, and the City of Chicago to manage a civic engagement process in June of 2016. This process included collected public feedback on draft governance and privacy policies and hosting public meetings in two of the areas of the city that would see nodes first: Pilsen & the Loop. See documentation from the public meeting in Pilsen in this blog post and see documentation from the public meeting in the Loop in this blog post. To read more about these civic engagement efforts, read Smart Chicago’s Array of Things Engagement Report.

Here is a video about Array of Things featuring Brenna Berman, the Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago, and Charlie Catlett, the Director of UrbanCCD and lead investigator for Array of Things:

Below is a video describing the technology in the Array of Things sensors. It also touches on the engagement process and the privacy policy feedback collection.

 

 

 

 

Release of the Array of Things Civic Engagement Report

On August 15th, Array of Things released the final version of the project’s governance and privacy policies as well as responses to public feedback collected in June through the Array of Things Civic Engagement Project.  Alongside this release, Smart Chicago shared The Array of Things Civic Engagement Report.

Here is an excerpt outlining the purpose and content of the Report:

As smart cities embrace and deploy innovative technology embedded in public spaces, residents voices need to be represented. To prevent disconnect between residents and their city’s technology, broad engagement is key — not only to inform residents of innovations, but to take inventory of public concerns and questions associated with them.

The purpose of this report is to describe the civic engagement and resident feedback collection process associated with a new Internet of Things (IoT) initiative in Chicago: The Array of Things. This report outlines the methods, decisions, and philosophies that went into this effort to increase Chicagoans’ engagement and involvement with smart city technology. Since the deployment of Internet of Things is so timely for cities around the world, we’ve shared the lessons we gleaned from our work. We hope this information can be of service to similar projects in other cities.  

This civic engagement work was accomplished alongside Array of Things operator UrbanCCD as well as the City of Chicago’s Department of Innovation & Technology. Smart Chicago’s Documenters played a key role in promoting and recording public meetings. Additional partners who participated include the Chicago Public Library (CPL), The OpenGov Foundation and the Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation. CPL provided welcoming community spaces to host public meetings, the OpenGov Foundation worked with us as we utilized Madison to collect resident feedback, and our graduate fellow from the Harvard Ash Center, Glynis Startz, helped execute and write about this work.

The Internet of Things and the data which will emerge from it have great potential to advance research and community priorities. Involving residents in these projects early and regularly ensures that technology is relevant, not just innovative.

Smart Chicago continues to seek new ways to engage residents with emerging urban technologies. As we do, we are committed to writing about and sharing our successes, challenges, and best practices. If you have questions about this report, please contact us.

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Array of Things Final Governance & Privacy Policies Released

Today, the Array of Things project released its final governance and privacy policies. The Array of Things website now houses the final policies as well as answers to public feedback from the project’s operators.

ArrayofThingsLogo-smallArray of Things is a network of interactive, modular sensor boxes that will be installed around Chicago to collect real-time data on the city’s environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use. The Array of Things project is led by Charlie Catlett and researchers from the Urban Center for Computation and Data of the Computation Institute, a joint initiative of Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago.The governance and privacy policies for this urban sensing project were shaped by the comments and questions collected during the civic engagement period in June.

There are 3 online forms you can fill out to get involved or receive news on Array of Things:

  • If you’re interested in becoming a research partner for Array of Things, fill out this form from the Array of Things operators.
  • If you’re interested in suggesting ideas for the Array of Things project, including new locations for sensors, fill out this form from the Array of Things Operators.
  • If you’re interested in receiving general news and updates about the Array of Things policies and civic engagement, fill out this Smart Chicago form.