Cities of Data: #SCE2015


On October 14-15-16 Bologna will confirm its role as one of the “smartest” cities in Italy when it will host the fourth edition of the Smart City Exhibition (SCE) under the title: “Knowledge, collaboration and implementation in cities of data”. The aim of the festival is to continue to transnationally study, analyze and share best practices for the governance of cities. The focus of this edition will be the “raw material of innovation,” information.

The three main focus areas of this edition are: sources, models and technologies. The intersection of these areas is the basis of this Festival, and so to speak, of the social innovation in urban contexts. Let’s start with sources. Open data are becoming more and more familiar to a majority of governments, both nationally and locally. Indeed, it is very possible that your own city has an open data website. Even more familiar is the role and the diffusion of social media; it is almost certain that you use or take information from social media. Unfortunately, these two elements – open data and social media -, which are the reasons why a staggering amount of data are at our disposal on a daily basis, do not go hand in hand as they should. There is significant potential for the fruitful use of information that basically goes astray in today’s world wide web.

On the other hand, there are already thousands of projects and best practices all over the world that are trying to meet the potential of these Cities of Data. Social innovation practices, and, on a broader scale, new models of social innovation— as anyone who frequents the Commons Post already knows – are stemming from almost everywhere, seamlessly. A complete understanding of these models, built on existing data and on first hand experiences, is at the basis of the whole social innovation phenomenon.

How? To respond to this question one must insert the third area of interest into the equation: technology. In fact, an effective use of both data and models can only be possible through a widespread and grassroots use of new technologies. “From data mobility infrastructures, to systems of data storage – today more rational thanks to a massive use of cloud computing – from web aggregative platforms to the mobile App, to sensors (smaller and with high performance).” (SCE). New technologies are opening up spaces and opportunities that used to be uncharted, for both governments and citizens.

Today we live and make decisions through piles of information. In fact, one of the greatest challenges ahead of us in the foreseeable future will be based on the management of three features that are at the core of the data/information revolution: 1) the size of data/information at our disposal; 2) reliability and trust in the existing system of sources; and 3) useful and lawful use of data/information. The greatest reform in the governance of the city in the next 50 years will an answer to these three problems. The ultimate goal should be the use of all of this data in citizens’ and governments’ favor.

To know more:

(LabGov will be in Bologna too for the First IASC Urban Commons conference on November 6-7).


Dal 14 al 16 ottobre, Bologna sarà lo scenario della quarta edizione della Smart City Exhibition. Il tema principale sarà incentrato sul ruolo dell’informazione, nella sua accezione di open data. Le tre aree di approfondimento saranno: fonti, modelli/pratiche e tecnologie.
Esperti del settore, con diverse esperienze, si incontreranno con lo scopo di discutere delle potenzialità e delle problematiche nella gestione degli open data all’interno dei contesti urbani. L’obiettivo infatti è quello di creare le giuste sinergie tra tutti i soggetti in causa per rendere questa rivoluzione utile nella gestione delle città del futuro: le smart city per l’appunto.