Ramp it up!

3D printed wheelchair ramp

3D printed wheelchair ramp

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The 3D printing by hacktivist Raul Krauthausen of a wheelchair access ramp, is part of social production within commons based peer production (CBPP). The relationship between the physical and the digital in this occurs through the sharing of the files under Creative Commons licensing

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The platform Thingiverse is part of Makerbot which describes itself as ‘a thriving design community for discovering, making and sharing 3D printable things’ 2016 Makerbot(R).Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.02.18

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Described by Kostakis as being ‘to highlight the potential of new modes of social production which…might be transcendent to the dominant system’, (2013) p.173
The creative commons attribution share alike licensing allows commercial usage provided appropriate credit has been given.

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The example of the ramp and other adaptations have not been mass-produced at a level which brings the costs down under economies of scale and so remain exclusive under traditional capitalist structures. Lipson and Kurman describe how ‘3D printing technologies ease the tyranny of economies of scale’ (2013)p.24Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.03.02
CBPP allows 3D printing processes to be part of business models where smaller scale localised energy production supports sustainable development and reduced resource consumption. Producing elements of digital city infrastructure in the new paradigm where materials can be recycled as part of manufacturing and development could overcome the built in obsolescence which is a limit to sustainability. These views are supported where Lipson(2013) suggests ‘3D manufacturing could enable companies to make products locally, near their customers’ (p.202). This approach can also reduce un-necessary overproduction and waste.





Kostakis, V., 2013. At the Turning Point of the Current Techno-Economic Paradigm: Commons-Based Peer Production, Desktop Manufacturing and the Role of Civil Society in the Perezian Framework. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 11(1), pp.173–190.

tripleC 11(1): 173-190, 2013 http://www.triple-c.at
Lipson, H.,Lipson, H. & Kurman, M., 2013 Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing, Indianapolis John Wiley

It’s not the coughing that carries you off..

UntitledScreen Shot 2016-05-01 at 10.59.11 MJM20

It’s not the coughing that carries you off, it’s the coffin they carry you off in..19th century jokes about death and class..

One of three strands of the Post 2015 Sustainable development agenda recognises
progress will need to implement ‘scientifically credible, verifiable and measurable indicators’ and that ‘capacities should be built for new forms of measurement’ UNEP(2015).
Interlinked factors of transport and communications infrastructure, facilitate the ‘mobile lives’ built on unsustainable high carbon societies. In ‘Mobile Lives’ Urry(2010) outlines future scenarios where exhaustion of natural resources prompts movement towards localised smaller scale community living and where individual choice and rights are part of contested futures. Where mobility occurs using pollutant producing means, this could be subject to rationing through ‘price, or need or some kind of quota with carbon allowances as the currency to be allocated, monitored and individually measured’ (p.148).
Linking the UNEP sustainable development goals(SDG’s) and contested future scenarios would make the requirement for effective forms of local monitoring through sensors necessary. A Hackair (2016) project Captor is developing a network of local communities monitoring air pollution. Using low cost sensors, designed and maintained by the community, this will increase environmental awareness and promote education and action for change. The gathering of data on air pollution could be seen as looking at the consequence of ‘mobile lives’ after it has occurred, however, visibility makes environmental pollution tangible for people in their locality. Engaging citizens in a more ‘bottom up’ inclusive approach to combatting climate change is in line with the ‘no-one left behind’ SDG’s of the UNEP. Another hackair.eu project required the use of smart phones to collect data, however this could limit participation for people who do not have personal ‘smart’ technological capacity.

There is recognition of the interconnectedness of problems and solutions in the UNEP SDG’s. Localised approaches integrated by networked capacity could support a diversity of many coordinated actions at local level into the future.



Elliot, A (2010) Mobile lives: self, excess and nature
Routledge Oxon

http://www.hackair.eu/pages/about-hackair/ 2016



Learning how to know thyself?

The Collective Awareness Platform(CAPS) project called MAZI is a DIY networking toolkit for location-based collective awareness which aims to ‘develop technology and knowledge in order to empower those who are in physical proximity, to shape their hybrid urban space, together, according to the specificities of the respective local environment’ (MAZI 2016). This is a hybrid program developing physical components with the use of low cost technology. In addition, facilitating hybrid, virtual and physical, local networks, which supports the emerging role of ‘smart citizen’.

The methodology of the pilot demonstrates an iterative feedback system with data collection and synthesis towards social learning. The working of the project shows a lot of meetings, events and infrastructure development, working with skills within the locality, supported by the MAZI program.


Authors (Hemment and Townsend 2013: 1-3) consider that this approach is a necessary shift away from only ‘big technology’ solutions in smart city design. A focus on ‘bottom up’ innovation and collaborative working has potential to re-engage people as the centre of the process with investment in ‘place’ at local level.IMG_0041

The MAZI project initiating a range of activities in Deptford, is developing skills and community network infrastructure in collaboration with local people and organisations.



MAZI CreekNet profile.

In ‘To know thy City, know Thyself’ Townsend looks at ‘small scale place making’ drawn in part from the historic work of Geddes and how currently the way people interact in urban life is changing through technology. Personal mobility generates data through ‘smart’ locative technology and allows near constant communication, both individual and linked to broader data streams. This informs how ‘grassroots efforts to reshape cities are actually trying to change the ways things work at a local level, amongst people, to create new (healthier, greener) systems.’(p.25)







Blog 8 19.4.16 Last Tango? Janet Jones 13801643

Digital gaming within an urban context can bring together people and place in a connected lived experience which links to historic forms of artistic expression and play. In ‘Merging Digital and Urban Play Spaces’ (2009), the authors suggest ‘communication, collaboration and social interaction can occur in a combination of the physical and the digital’ (p.1). Digital games fall into categories linked to levels of engagement with reality both spatially, temporally, through interaction with other people and also type of digital connectivity. Pervasive games refers to activities extending into reality in the manner of historical characters the ‘flaneur'(p.8) and later the ‘phoneur’ who moved through urban spaces in a ludic form which disrupted and modified the normal flow of people. Location based mixed reality, Augmented reality and Big games are played through a combination of online and location aware technology. Players interact with each other in physical locations, informed by GPS and Cellular positioning.

The game Ingress is an augmented-reality massively multiplayer online location-based game created by Google and Niantic Inc. Players use cell phones to log into a Google Maps-based interface to highlight “portals” around their location, which the game’s two factions must fight to control. When a player is near a portal, they can take it over and set up virtual defences. The opposing factions in the game are based around a ‘good and evil’ world domination format which sets people up to take control of geographic locations.IMG_0031IMG_0023

The app requested access to my address book(which I declined but put my own email in to proceed), this indicates the Google corporate data mining objectives of the game.

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Playing on iPhone from a location in Halifax gave me a map of the area around the hotel and a triangle of operation for locating game elements and attempting to link them defensively. There was also the possibility of locating other players in the vicinity. Physically moving towards locations guided by the on screen pointer gives ‘portal’ interaction.


View from room window Premier Inn Halifax 17.5.16


Ingress tutorial from YouTube

As the game was played during a trip back to the town of my childhood home, I was struck by the perspective of Hjorth(2011) in highlighting a relationship between notions of home and the digital in the game context.

‘Far from eroding a sense of home and kinship ties, mobile technologies are reinforcing notions of locality and place. Indeed mobile, networked technologies – under the rubric of mobile media – not only transform how we experience place'(p.368)

An augmented reality version of the town centre of Halifax was certainly an interesting experience physically and emotionally.



De Souza e Silva, A, and D. M. Sutko, eds. (2009) Digital Cityscapes: Merging Digital and Urban Playscapes. New York: Peter Lang: 1-17


Hjorth, L. (2011). Mobile@game cultures: The place of urban mobile gaming. Sage Convergence, 17(4), 357-371.

Montola et al Pervasive games: Theory and designhttps://pervasivegames.wordpress.com/


Honouring pasts, connecting futures

MJM20 Blog 6 Newhaven Fort

Location-specific Actionbound draft
Actionbound Newhaven Fort : Honouring pasts, connecting futures

Stage one
What does it sound like at the Newhaven Fort?
Find spot Location coordinates 50.7832° N, 0.0544° E

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Stage 2

Why is there a Canadian war memorial at Newhaven?

Go to collections at the Fort and find the answers


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Stage 3

How far is it to Dieppe and how long would it take to get there in a small boat?
Find Dieppe on an OS map and estimate travel time

Stage 4

Where is the secret tunnel and what was it used for?
Look at the information to answer the questions



Stage 5

What kind of poetry and music does the landscape and situation inspire?
Listen to recordings of contemporary and historic poems whilst sitting outside at the Fort looking over the sea

HMS Forward was a military intelligence centre located in Newhaven. The challenge for a bound developed here was how to integrate a challenging past with opportunities for positive future connections across continents in the digital age.
A key question is how can people utilise technology to support people in environmental challenges such as flooding and also social and political instability. Today’s disaster is the loss of life for refugees trying to cross oceans in small boats fleeing from war, many people had smartphones. The distance from Turkey to Lesbos is similar to Newhaven to Dieppe.

The websites with information about Newhaven Fort focus on community connections and memories. The bound idea would support people to look at the connections and history found in the collections and on the websites and to locate memorials and significant historic locations.

In addition, spoken word poetry and music associated with the history could be recorded and linked to the locations to be listened to as part of the stages. The blending of ‘the digital with the physical’ NetPark (2015) would help to create an atmosphere and sensory experience of history in the present. Where a location has history which is difficult to represent through audio locative media, narratives through spoken words can reflect history and atmosphere.



Behrends F, (2015) NetPark



Sounds Like

MJM20 6.3.16 Blog 5 Sounds like

The platform action bound.de began as a media education project. It has focussed around exploration of specific locations and team development activities. The format is similar to treasure hunt style games where participants are locating clues or producing media examples to answer questions for the ‘bound’ or game. The process is designed for use with a smartphone with camera and GPS facility. The graphics appear to be aimed at a younger generation of players. The experience of using a smartphone to follow the program for me was problematic and lost continuity.

The ‘bound’ titled Royal Pavillion demo begins with a locative ‘placed sound’ audio recording from outside the venue, which gives seagull and crow calls familiar and evocative of this coastal location. Subsequent stages ask participants to take a 30 second video in the location which is then uploaded to the website, along with answers to sequential local interest questions. A sound from the Pavilion bound which is a ‘natural’ locative sound, sits in contrast to a ‘mobile media’ electronically generated urban soundscape such as referred to in Behrendt.(2012). There was difficulty in completing the location question as even from standing right next to the building, it seems I was missing something. Results are included here: https://actionbound.com/result/56d86871edd2cf4c3d47f9b5

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A basic Actionbound project could be a ‘bound’ created to compliment activities at the Dome for International Women’s Day(IWD). There is already focus on women’s history walks and also as part of Brighton Fringe, Notorious women of Brighton and Hove in history will feature as a walk activity. An IWD bound could have activities with questions about women’s history, speeches and the walking/wheeling tour of locations. Images and audio recordings could be uploaded to the program, but also a section for participants to contribute. I did not produce further work on this idea as I was unable to access the action bound.de site on subsequent attempts. Screenshots of Actionbound stages and a link to http://historywomenbrighton.com/walkstalks/ are included as examples of a potential locative media project process.


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IWD walks

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Behrendt, F. 2012 The sound of locative media
Convergence:The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 18(3)283-295

available at: http://con.sagepub.com/content/18/3/283



How will I know?

Wk 4 Blog How will I know?

The Big Bang Data exhibit ‘IF’ looks at governance, ownership and control relating to recording and storage of personal data.

Imagined licensing involved placing a personal card on a reader, with selection of disclosure levels allowing individual control of how and by whom data is shared. Card information as part of access to transport infrastructure, demonstrates software becoming ‘spatially active’. For example, purchase of travel tickets using a card places the person in a particular geographic location identifiable through spatial analysis. For digital cities ‘service oriented’ computing infrastructure is a key part of of how management for health, education, local governance and business is implemented.

Problematic security of data is something acknowledged in a report from IBM ‘Democracy of Devices, Saving the future of the Internet of Things’ (IBM 2015). The authors look at problems and solutions for a future where there are upwards of 25 billion connected devices by 2020. The scale of this and potential for formal and informal intrusion cannot realistically be controlled. Integration of privacy and anonymity into design is necessary to give people an opportunity to control usage and privacy. Initially developed as part of Bitcoin, blockchain is a universal digital ledger which enables functioning of decentralised financial systems. Developed through open source commons, the system is considered less vulnerable.

A ‘Scoop it’ post reviewing the Dhanjani book ‘Abusing the Internet of Things: Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts’ (2015) gives practical examples of where security of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been compromised with relative ease. In practical case studies including code, the author highlights issues for debate regarding implications for security as device connectivity develops. Code is the basis of all the software running IoT, which means management of our living systems is increasingly dependent on the code/space dyadic concept explored by Kitchen and Dodge in Code/Space(2011).

Public space can refer to that which is accessible under localised governance and societal norms. Berry et al suggest ‘no one person or company can unequivocally own or control it’. The edges of what is defined as public space are considered increasingly contested through privatised regulation and ownership and will be significant to the development of digital cities.
Berry, C., Harbord, J., Moore, R. eds., 2013 Public Space, Media Space. Hampshire Palgrave Macmillan

Dhanjani, N. 2015 Abusing the Internet of Things Blackouts, Freakouts, and Stakeouts’ in Doctorow, C. Boing Boing 2016
available from:
accessed: 26.2.16

Purshwaren, V. 2015 Device Democracy, Saving the future of the Internet of Things
Executive Report IBM New York
Available from: http://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/gb/en/gbe03620usen/GBE03620USEN.PDF?
accessed on 26.2.16

Sassen, S. 2012 Urbanising Technology LSE Cities
available from:
accessed: 26.2.16

Blog 3 20.2.16 My Data Deals

Wk 3 Exploring the Big Bang Data Exhibition

The Big Bang Data exhibit ‘How can data improve our health?’ (Loder, 2016) on the subject of medical data, suggests ‘New research digitally enabled, patient led’ and that ‘new data is produced, owned and controlled by patients. So it will be accessed on their terms; as active participants rather than passive subjects.’ The view presented is of opportunities for advances in healthcare provided by types of data available from new sources. In addition to control and access, there is also suggestion of improvement in understanding of what the data means for an individual’s health status.

In ‘Who controls our data? Usman Haque debates the implications of the data explosion’. The focus encourages a critical view of motivations for data collection. Linking the two, could begin to consider issues in regard to health data. Historic usage of data from drug trials by drug companies in the development of treatments, which are then controlled by cost, has created inequalities. In terms of profit generated through use of personal data it is unlikely patients can have a clear understanding of this when signing consent forms. There is likely to be bias in terms of age, education and access to equipment.

Under the data and democracy theme ‘Florence Nightingale: A Data Pioneer How did Florence Nightingale use data to empower change?’ looks at how her recording and use of data was very significant in advances in medicine and healthcare. This was at a time when capitalism and commercialisation in control of data was in it’s early stages.

It would be interesting to consider whether there is potential for personal medical data to appear in ‘automated’ form and be manipulated through algorithm as described by Miller (2010). Drug companies who have access to data could potentially suggest treatment regimes generated impersonally and yet through an amalgamation of personal data.

The overall value of the exhibition is partly in providing examples of data collection which could lead to more informed choice in many social and political contexts, however this will still be dependant on technical knowledge and understanding.


Big Bang data 2015 Somerset House / An exhibition organised by Somerset House Trust, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona – CCCB and Fundación Telefónica
Available at:
Accessed 20.2 .16

Loder, J. How can data improve our health? (2016)
Available at:

How can data improve our health?

Accessed 20.2.16

Florence Nightingale: A data pioneer (2016)
Available at:

Florence Nightingale: A Data Pioneer

Accessed 20.2.16

Who controls our data? Usman Haque debates the implications of the data explosion (2016)
Available at:

Who controls our data? Usman Haque debates the implications of the data explosion

Accessed 20.2.16

Miller, V. (2011) Understanding Digital Culture. In: Miller, V. Key Elements of Digital Media. Sage: pp 12-21.2012

Smarten yourself up Janet!

In defining elements of ‘Smart Cities’ Townsend (2013 p.15)) suggests this involves ‘places where information technology is combined with infrastructure, architecture, everyday objects and even our bodies to address social, economic, and environmental problems’. Additionally, local scale is considered important because of the engagement of citizens in identification of problems with more responsive, quicker results.

‘Smart’ management of technologies, which is the basis of ‘smart cities’, occurs electronically in response to data from sensors. In addition to the automated functions triggered by readings, Townsend also refers to interactive elements where people make management choices informed by electronic signage in the physical landscape. The overall view considers the importance of balancing civic management with ‘bottom up’ innovation, in support of environmental sustainability, with new technologically enhanced ways of living.

Creative media in digital format and can involve citizens in the creation of smart cities. Practical innovation is subject to academic analysis in the appraisal of design and impact. This could encourage a different kind of ‘smart’ in terms of learning from historic successes and limitations, and giving the opportunity for citizen ‘hacking’ at the design level.

Creative Media is perhaps therefore, more than other types of media and creative practice separately, suited to the development of smart city futures. Forms rooted in digital methods of creative expression have grown with the development of the technology. Redirection of methods into creative expression, will likely be a productive interface such as described by Sassen(2013), from which innovation towards the goals of efficient, sustainable cities can grow. Direct input from citizens though their use and hacking of designs, products and infrastructure, could inform development in more participatory forms with less risk of obsolescence than is likely through commercial drivers.

Re-work conference panellist Asa Calow is a creative technologist and founder of MadLab. Work is focused on the potential for community innovation through the delivery of creative technology workshops. This is of interest as it appears to offer the possibility of bringing together elements of community involvement which are referred to across the work of the authors referenced here.

The Pararchive, a Madlab open access story-telling project, is particularly interesting and had numerous partners such as the BBC, University of Leeds and individual creatives.

This can be found at:



Calow, A
Manchester Digital Laboratory is a not-for-profit grassroots digital innovation organisation
Manchester, UK.
Available at : http://madlab.org.uk/the-team/
accessed 18.2.16

Sassen, S.
Urban Age Electric City: Saskia Sassen – Urbanising technology
available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyS1H_Zs4po
accessed 14.6.16

Townsend, A. 2013 Smart Cities Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia
New York: WW Norton

Janet Jones Obsolescence

Digital cities Week 1 Blog

Hi everyone here on the digital cities module, my name is Janet and here’s a bit about me. Professionally and personally my background has little direct link to the concepts of digital cities. Since medical retirement from professional work, my interest has grown in forms of digital literacy, communication and storytelling. Personal and community narratives recorded in different media formats such as film, audio and photographs is something I would like to explore within the ‘digital cities’ context.

In 2004 at a literacy conference in the UK, I developed a friendship with a Canadian writer and teacher who lives in the city of Vancouver. We have been in contact ever since, initially by email then by Skype and other video calling as the software has developed. In conversation this week, she described how she was unable to purchase ink for her printer because at 8 years old, whilst still basically functioning, it was too old to obtain cartridges. This could be an example of what is described by Sassen (2013) as ‘digital obsolescence’. The speed of technological development of digital infrastructure in cities presents a risk of obsolescence but also the associated inequalities as communities and people are unable to keep up.

This leads me to wonder about some issues which face development of digital cities. Having moved 3 times in 2 years whilst studying in Brighton, I now have what I call my remote control, telephone and data wires graveyard in plastic boxes at the bottom of a wardrobe! The thing which unsettles me most is the sheer waste of raw materials and finance. Technical obsolescence is something which will be difficult to outrun. On this subject, Sassen (2003) also refers to ‘hacking’ at the interactive interface, as a creative means of avoiding death through obsolescence of the digital city.

I am not at a stage yet where I am clear about module topics but digital literacy and storytelling remain most consistently of interest and I look forward to the learning journey.


Sasses, S ( 2003) Urbanising Technology, Urban Age Electric City, YouTube video, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyS1H_Zs4po