HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna

After its very first launch in Rome in September 2013 with EC(m1), after the Festival dell’Innovazione in Bari, Human Ecosystems goes back to Italy with a new project sponsored by the City of Bologna, with the support of ANCI – National Association of Italian Municipalities.

The project will start on October 7th 2015. Below the official press release.

HUB - Human Ecosystems Bologna: the emotional map of the city

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna: the emotional map of the city

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna

from 7th October to 7th December 2015 at the Urban Center of Bologna shows the

Realtime Life of the City of Collaboration 

Press Conference
12.30AM, Piazza Nettuno 3 – Bologna (Italy)

Who talks about collaboration in Bologna on social networks? And how? What are the more collaborative neighborhoods? Which topics are more discussed by citizens? What emotions are they expressing? Who are the hubs, the influencers, the bridges between communities and the experts of collaboration? In which languages does collaboration happen in town?

By launching the “HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna” project, the City of Bologna opens an unprecedented experiment at the intersection of art, technology, research and open data aiming to foster its collaborative policies.

Supported by ANCI – National Association of Italian Municipalities, the project will show the relational ecosystem of participation, cooperation and collaboration in the City of Bologna in its digital dimension, creating a parallel and complementary track of work to the “Collaborare è Bologna” process, the policies for collaboration promoted by the City administration.

From October 7th to December 7th 2015 an interactive exhibit will animate the spaces of the Urban Center, enabling citizens and visitors to observe the themes, places, emotions and opinions of the “Collaborative Bologna”, as they are addressed and publicly expressed on major social networks by citizens.

Matteo Lepore, Councillor for the Digital Agenda and the Promotion of the City, says: “With this project we intend to concretely experience the use of big data. We have launched the new civic network in Bologna and the city wi-fi, extending the coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with free access, offering high speed connection to schools, theaters and soon to enterprises and homes. We are reaching now the European goals for 2020, with social networks at the center of our innovation policies. We are aware that the digital ecosystem is an infrastructure for development, growth and inclusion. But to make this leap, we have to learn to systematize the data we produce: with HUB, we are going in the right direction, in particular considering the transition of Bologna toward metropolitan area and the public investments to come“.

HUB - Human Ecosystems Bologna: intensity

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna: intensity

Confronted with maps and social graphs“, say the authors of the project, Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico, “people will be able to observe in real time the public conversations forming the ecosystems of collaboration, and to explore in new ways the digital public space of the city, discovering and creating unexpected connections“.

HUB - Human Ecosystems Bologna: relational ecosystens

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna: relational ecosystems

Antonella Galdi, General Deputy Secretary and  Technological Innovation and Culture Head of ANCI, states that “the project is likely to be replicated in other cities and contexts. We look forward to a trial that could “read” the city in a new way, aware of the need to use every possible tool to improve the analysis of public policies in urban territories. Moreover, this initiative is able to highlight the role of art and culture in innovation processes and, at the same time, to create new spaces, instruments, forms of relationship and involvement of citizens“.

HUB - Human Ecosystems Bologna: topics and relations among topics

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna: topics and relations among topics

At the end of the exhibit, the collected data will be released as set of Open Data. A new immaterial commons available to citizens, researchers, civil society and administration, opening an innovative experimentation in the field of open data policies, in which “citizens become sensors, with their interactions and everyday expressions in the new and controversial public space formed by social networks” continue Iaconesi and Persico.

According to Pina Civitella, Head Innovation Unit of the City of Bologna, the project creates “an innovative data source that provides significant opportunities for the development of value-added services for citizens, businesses, public administration, and for experimenting new forms of civic activation“.

HUB - Human Ecosystems Bologna: thematic correlations

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna: thematic correlations

Human Ecosystems is a city-based international project already experimented across several cities worldwide, including Sao Paulo, New Haven, Toronto, Montreal. Christian Iaione, Director of “LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons” and Coordinator of CO-Bologna, points up that “the project represents the digital and organisational pillar of CO-Bologna, a program supported by the Fondazione del Monte and the City of Bologna, aiming to turn Bologna in an open and collaborative city: a collective institution empowering individuals, businesses, civil society organisations, schools and the University to care for and regenerate the city as a commons, as well as to cultivate their abilities and potential“.


HE – Human Ecosystems

“Collaborare è Bologna”

“Human Ecosystems @Ars Electronica 2015”, on “Fastforward 2” by Motherboard, 1° episode

Human Ecosystems in S. Paulo (BR), documentary by Universidade Metodista

Human Ecosystems in New Haven (USA), documentary by YWF – Yale World Fellows

HUB – Human Ecosystems Bologna is a project promoted by:

the City of Bologna

with the support of:

LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons
ANCI – Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani

Concept and Realization:
HE – Human Ecosystems / AOS – Art is Open Source (S. Iaconesi; O. Persico)

Ubiquitous Commons at Hybrid City conference in Athens: Data to the People

Ubiquitous Commons and Human Ecosystems will be at the “Hybrid City III: Data to the People” conference in Athens, on September 17-19, organised by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication (URIAC), in collaboration with New Technologies Laboratory, of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, of the University of Athens.

The paper “Data and the City: moving from surveillance and control to the Ubiquitous Commons” will be presented there.

The paper will be available on the conference proceedings, and here on this website.

Here is the abstract:

Social networks and ubiquitous technologies have transformed the ways in which we communicate, learn, work, consume, express emotions, relate to each other, create and share information and knowledge.

Major operators create digitally mediated public and private spaces using hardware and software user interfaces, iconic and symbolic architectures, communication strategies and patterns.

This scenario creates private/public spheres in which users leave digital traces which are used to commoditise human behaviour and expression: for marketing, surveillance, social experiments and more, all without explicit participant consent: current modalities are not sufficient in enabling users to control the ways in which their data is used.

Algorithmic production of information is yet another space in which confusion and opacity are created in people’s perception of how their information will be used: they are not transparent and accountable, and laws, regulations and habits are not structurally able to confront with their continuous, fluid evolution.
This results in the systematic transgression of multiple human rights and expectations. This scenario describes a critical situation which must be confronted with.

In this article we propose a two-phase methodology whose objective is to find resolutive solutions for the presented context, starting from a focus on major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

The first phase is exemplified through a city-based project called Human Ecosystems which, at the time of writing, has been started in multiple cities (Rome, Sao Paulo, Montreal, New Haven, among others).

The project has four steps: re-appropriation; sharing; education; performance.
In the re-appropriation step, public data generated by users on major social networks is harvested and processed, to understand the Relational Ecosystems of the city, and the topic/emotion networks which are expressed by city-dwellers, thus being able to describe information and knowledge flows across communities.

In the sharing stage, all of the harvested and processed information is made available under the form of a source of real-time open data, released under with a peer-production license.

In the education stage, widely accessible workshops are used to engage the population in the understanding of the implications generated by the availability of such data, and of how this data can be used for citizens’ self-organisation, civic action, to understand the cities’ cultures and communities, and for participatory decision-making processes.

In the performance stage, an inclusive laboratory is created in the city in which students, researchers, public administrators, designers, artists and organisations receive support in building these scenarios, understanding them and their critical implications.

In the second phase of the methodology is the Ubiquitous Commons are defined. They come under the form of legal and technological toolkits which describe a “protocol” used to declare the intended use of element of ubiquitous information generated by users. It is an evolution of the concept of the Creative Commons, in the era ubiquitous information and dealing with the qualitative, quantitative, technical, technological and legal implications of these new forms of data.

Festival dell’Innovazione: in Bari with Human Ecosystems and Nefula

Join us in Bari on May 21-23 2015 for the “Festival dell’Innovazione” together with Art is Open Source, Human Ecosystems, Nefula and ISIA, for a workshop on the Human Ecosystems and a Human Ecosystems installation about the real-time digital life of Bari.

The Human Ecosystems Lab will be a hands-on experience, and will give everyone the tools and knowledge to observe the public digital life of their city, and to use it for citizen activation and participation, to create generative artworks, designs, services and peer-to-peer emergent dynamics in the city. On Thursday 21st, from 9:30am to 6:30pm, at Fortino S. Antonio in Bari. Register Here.

The HE/BA (Human Ecosystems Bari) installation will feature interactive information visualizations which will show the real-time public life of the city of Bari, with all its locations, places, discussions, relations, voices all shown in real-time. From May 21st to May 23rd, from 9:00am to 8:00pm, at the Teatro Margherita in Bari.

Human Ecosystems in Reggio Calabria

The Human Ecosystems project is landing in Reggio Calabria, the beautiful city at the tip of the boot of the Italian peninsula, full of history and culture.

Here we will explore the opportunities which can be found by gaining more understandings about the digital life of the city, together with citizens, organisations, city based associations.

We will meet on December 22nd 2014 at 8pm, at the Malavenda Café (Via Zecca 1, Reggio Calabria).

Here below are the Press Release and the biographies of the participants to the event (doc format, in Italian):

Human Ecosystems Reggio Calabria Press Release

Human Ecosystems Reggio Calabria Biographies


The Event

What shape does the relational ecosystem of Reggio Calabria have? Which nodes constitute it? Which emotions do citizens express on social networks? How do they interconnect? What could happen if a real time source open data would be made available to show the meeting places in the city of different cultures and communities; their influences; their bridges, hubs, experts, boundaries, connecting and separating them across themes, opinions, places and times?

They may look like questions coming out of science fiction, but in some cities of the world (such as Sao Paulo, Toronto, New Haven) they are already a reality.

We will talk about all of this on Monday December 22nd at 8pm at the Malavenda Café together with Oriana Persico, digital communication expert and co-founder – together with Salvatore Iaconesi, robotic engineer and hacker – of the Art is Open Source network, which created the Human Ecosystems project.

Human Ecosystems enables smart cities and smart communities observing the relational ecosystems of cities in real-time, to promote citizen participation and activation, as well as peer-to-peer and ubiquitous innovation processes. The project captures in real-time citizens’ public conversations on major social networks, in 29 languages, visualises them through info-aesthetic representations and generative sounds, and transforms them into a source of Open Data which is available to anyone, to make digital public space accessible and inclusive: an Ubiquitous Commons.

In fact, at the present time, it is only large operators and the managers of the large social networking platforms who have access to this citizen-generated data, to be used for their sole strategies.

Since its launch in 2013, Human Ecosystems has been used to create participatory policies, new forms of governance, urban planning, research, education processes, art installations and performances.

Back from Yale University, where Iaconesi held a fellowship, Persico will open up a dialogue with some of the major associations and startups of the city, who confront on a daily basis with the issues of urban regeneration, participative design, open data and social innovation: Letizia Cuzzola, president of Terrearse Lab, the association which promotes the “Sud Altrove” project; Giuseppe Mangano, co-founder of Pensando Meridiano, the Laboratory for Sustainable Culture, Innovation and Social Cohesion which is implementing the Reaction City project; Angelo Marra, who has just been nominated Digital Champion for the city of Reggio Calabria and, thus, the ambassador for the city’s digital innovation; Antonio Ottomanelli, artistic director of The Third Island project, starting from Calabria to create an observatory on the major public works in Italy; Domenico Rositano, president of Calabresi Creativi, winner of the MIUR 2012 grant with the project Smart DMO; Giuseppe Rudi, co-founder of Architetti Emergenti, winner of the Culturability 2013 grant; Eleonora Scrivo, territorial responsible for Action Aid, constantly active on the issues of transparency and participation through Open Data.

The A di Città Rosarno association collaborated in the realization of the event, in its effort to use participatory urbanism as a tool for citizen awareness.

The moderation will be performed by Josephine Condemi, Reggio Calabria born journalist (on Nòva – Il Sole 24 Ore), passionate about online and offline networks, and about social innovation.

Thanks to the support provided by the Laboratori it will be possible to follow the event live in streaming and in live-tweeting using the #humanrc hashtag.

Virtual is potential. Making it become real is our responsibility.

Links & Info

Fb event:

Human Ecosystems:

Salvatore Iaconesi&Oriana Persico

A di Città Rosarno:

Architetti Emergenti:

Calabresi Creativi:

Digital Champions Calabria:

Pensando Meridiano

Terrearse Lab

The Third Island

Digital Urban Acupuncture at the Festival delle Generazioni 2014, in Florence

Join us in Florence, from October 2nd to October 4th 2014, for the “Festival delle Generazioni 2014“, to explore the opportunities brought on by the wide availability of Ubiquitous Information, which we will analyse through the methodology of Digital Urban Acupuncture.

(follow the Festival on Twitter here: #FFdG14 )

Art is Open Source and Human Ecosystems will be there with two initiatives:

Le Informazioni attorno a noi” (“Information around us”): a two hours talk and workshop in which we will try to understand what it means for human beings to have the possibility to access information which is embedded in their surroundings, wether it comes from social networks, sensors, databases and more. An Augmented Humanity, capable of accessing the Ubiquitous Infoscape. On October 3rd, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Biblioteca Oblate (Conference hall), in Florence.

Agopuntura Urbana” (“Urban Acupuncture”). Or, even better, Digital Urban Acupuncture. This will  be a peculiar workshop, under the form of an Emotional Scavenger Hunt (a “caccia al tesoro”). In this game we will search for emotions in the city, searching for them on social networks, in the places in which people expressed them. We will try to find what we call “Emotional Landmarks”, places in the city in which certain people, at certain times of the day/week/year, systematically express specific emotions. Join us for a bit of theory and a great emotional scavenger hunt on October 4th, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the Bibioteca Oblate (Conference Hall), in Florence.