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.

Periferica: Human Ecosystems workshops in Rome

Join us at the Periferica Festival in Rome, on February 16-21 2015 at Fusolab, in Viale della Bella Villa 94 (and some other locations: check the program for time and locations).

Art is Open Source and Human Ecosystems will be there for an installation and a workshop on Human Ecosystems, the real-time lives of cities, in which we will see the relational ecosystem of the city come to life before our eyes, and we will learn how to use it for generative arts, design, civic action and more.

Check out our profile at the festival’s website, for more info: HERE.

The festival will be rich in exhibits and performances: look who’s coming, here.

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 Creativi.net 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

The Real Time Museum of the City and the Ubiquitous Commons

A public gathering in Rome, uniting administrations, politics, civil society and the cultures of the Italian capital become the occasion to explore the Human Ecosystems, the Real Time Museum of the City and the Ubiquitous Commons: the emergence of a vision of the relational ecosystem of the city and of the transformation of citizenship in the age of ubiquitous information.

This will happen in Rome, on July 7th 2014, from 3pm to 7:30pm at the Palazzo ex Pantanella, piazza Bocca della Verità 16.

You can visit the website http://ripartiamodaifori.it/ to learn more about the event (the website is in italian). You can also Download the Press Release and Download the Program for the event here (both are the official releases, in Italian).

The Real Time Museum of the City

What if there was a museum, in each city, which did not have in display paintings, sculptures or the archives and exhibits which we are all used to imagining when we think about Museums, but the “life of the city”, in real-time?

What if, in this Museum, you could play with the real-time life of the city, exploring the cultures, communities and relations which constantly form and transform in the city, between citizens of all ages, administrations, cultures, companies, organisations?

What if, in this Museum, you could learn how to understand these relationships, and how to use them to create a novel form of citizenship, in which citizens are positive, active, aware agents of their city, organising among themselves and with administrations and companies to promote and support the well-being of the city itself.

The Real Time Museum of the City

The Real Time Museum of the City

This is what we’re exploring with the Human Ecosystems project, starting in Sao Paulo, Rome, Montreal, Toronto, Lecce, Budapest and, really soon, in other major cities across the planet.

Ubiquitous Commons

The Human Ecosystems project is tightly connected with the concept of Ubiquitous Commons (and we will be spending a whole semester at Yale, with a Yale World Fellowship, to explore this concept and publish the first results).

With the idea of the Ubiquitous Commons we wish to highlight that a massive transformation has already happened for human beings.

Ubiquitous Information, mobile technologies, sensors, pervasive digital transaction, content, information and interaction have radically transformed the ways in which we perceive public and private spaces, as well as the ways in we relate, communicate, work, express, consume, share knowledge and information.

The world, today, sits in a grey area in which this radical transformation has already happened (and is constantly continuing to happen), and laws, regulations, social and cultural conventions, critical perceptions have not yet learned how to understand and cope with them, leaving us in a state of continuous, rapid, incomprehensible, opaque revolution of the boundaries of what is public and what is private (and the radical consequences which this has), which is controlled by entities whose interest does not lie in the public well-being.

Affecting everything from privacy, to transparency, to openness, to participatory governance, to shared knowledge, information, and even up to health and personal well-being (just think about all the things you can achieve through biometrics, quantified-self and more).

Ubiquitous Commons

Ubiquitous Commons

Through Ubiquitous Commons we wish to address this domain: to create a common effort through which Ubiquitous Information, of the many kinds which affect our daily lives – wether we realise it or not – becomes open, accessible, usable to us, as citizens and human beings, to perform this transformation which has already happened, and to mutate it into a chance for our expression and freedoms, giving us the chance to create new ecologies and economies, based on openness, accessibility, inclusion and participation.

The two issues (the Real-Time Museum of the City and Ubiquitous Commons) are closely connected, as the Real Time Museum of the City is a sort of iconic presence in the City of the concept of the Ubiquitous Commons: the place of perception and beauty in which one starts to comprehend, learn and use the Relational Ecosystem of the city, to perform this transformation, to perceive a new possibility for citizenship.