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Urban Sensing

Interesting I wonder what the implications of moving from participatory research to a participatory sensing framework are going to be.

Is decentralized sensing an emerging dominant hierarchical structure?

As the authors explain:

Persuading individuals to engage in such constant self-surveillance and then subsequently to
share that data pose nontrivial hurdles entirely independent of the privacy claims raised by third parties. This is so even in the world of JennyCam and YouTube exhibitionism.

In this context, services become mechanical choice making and negotiation devices that become responsible for protecting our privacy. And people say cybernetics is dead?

For these authors, the data commons are also a shift in ideology:

In going beyond science, urban sensing has the potential to generate a “data commons.” By this, we mean a data repository generated through decentralized collection, shared freely, and amenable to distributed sense-making not only for the pursuit of science but also advocacy, art, play, and politics. (…)

Whether we view these new developments as an outgrowth of the open source
movement or of the success of a few participatory models (Wikipedia, YouTube), the applications on the Web today and the way data is structured and shared are fundamentally different than they were a decade ago. We think of the evolution of the data commons as an extension of this movement, offering a host of new applications, new data types, and data
processing tools. As Natalie Jeremijenko contends, every sensor in the environment is a question. The data commons and citizen-initiated sensing will provide answers, pose new questions, and open new opportunities for public discourse.


The data commons resembles what we have previously called a public sphere [7]. In prior work, Kang and Cuff provided a minimalist definition of the public sphere with four principal attributes: the public sphere must be accessible to diverse members; provide opportunity for multiple uses; encourage some sort of (and not always political) exchange among participants
(in the case of a data commons, this implies both the sharing and consumption of information); and be recognizable as such a space. Although these attributes were used to describe physical realms and social practices, they can also be usefully applied to the data commons.

Their views that our political sphere is changing is shared by sociologists who see political consumerism as an emerging activist strategy.

They too see data tagging, indexing as emerging creative forms of engagement.

are data commons the technological evolution of participatory and collaborative practices?

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