field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

City of Things Lab010 selected by Rotterdam municipality

We are very happy that our proposal for setting up Cities of Things Lab010 as part of the CityLab010 project is selected by the commission. Together with partners Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences research group Creating010. Afrikaanderwijk Co-op and Studio voor de Stad we entered the project in the summer. We plan to start the project in early 2022.

From the CityLab010-website (translated from Dutch):

After an exciting time for many Rotterdam initiators, the decision is finally made. 49 Rotterdammers will receive a starting budget from CityLab010. Good for over 3 million euros. With this, they can make their dreams come true.

Aldermen Roos Vermeij (Economy, Neighborhoods and Small Districts) and Arno Bonte (Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy Transition) and chairwoman of the city jury, Carolien Dieleman, congratulate all the initiators on their starting budget and wish them every success with the implementation.

The short description of the City of Things Lab010 project is:
More and more intelligent and autonomous objects are appearing on our streets. This is changing the city at the system level, with impact at the hyperlocal neighborhood level. The Cities of Things Labkar allows neighborhood residents to design and prototype citythings together with designers.

We will create a special page on this website to keep you posted with the progress of the project.

field lab MUC-AMS update

Reporting Creative Embassy MUC-AMS 2022-2024 kick-off

At different locations in Munich,
11 October 2021

On October 11, after a year of preparations and sessions, online a Dutch delegation traveled to Munich to officially kick off the second phase of the ‘Creative Embassy MUC-AMS’. 

Alderman and deputy-mayor of the city of Amsterdam Victor Everhardt, and Head of Department of Labor and Economic Development and city councilor Clemens Baumgärtner of the City of Munich together with numerous supporting partners signed the Letter of Intent to continue the cooperation between both cities. The goal of the cooperation is to stimulate innovation, strengthen the creative industry, learn from each other and inspire. Munich and Amsterdam, therefore, aim to develop cross-country field labs in specific topics. 

This aftermovie shows an impression of the day. Read further to learn more about the outcomes of the day.

field lab MUC-AMS update

Signing LoI field lab MUC-AMS 11 Oct

This press release is sent out by Creative Holland, October 8.

Successful collaboration between Munich and Amsterdam enters next phase with Cities of Things field lab

On 11 October 2011, at the EXPO REAL event in Munich, City of Amsterdam alderperson Victor Everhardt and Clemens Baumgärtner, Head of the Department of Labour and Economic Development of the City of Munich, will sign a Letter of Intent regarding the continued partnership between the two cities on innovation and the creative industry. This signals the joint launch of the ‘Cities of Things’ field lab: a program to identify and test new solutions for urban issues.

This joint field lab follows from the Creative Embassy MUC-AMS initiative, in which Dutch and German creative companies cooperate to develop solutions for the challenges facing society. With these programs, Creative Holland (an initiative of the Dutch ‘top sector’ program supporting the creative industry) aims to stimulate international business development. The goal is to give Dutch creative SMEs a kick-start on the other side of the border.

reflections update

Blog – citythings with blackbox character

This post is also sent as an update via the monthly newsletter. Around the end of a month, I share learning on the Cities of Things. More on the backgrounds of Cities of Things and the current research projects via the website. In my personal weeknotes newsletter Target_is_new I keep track of the news of the week.

Reading back the weekly updates, it is noticeable that there are continuous introductions of new robot-dog applications, mostly Spot from Boston Dynamics; from policing to being a doctor. The last mile delivery pods are also now adopted by new players every week, so it seems, driven by pandemic lockdowns probably. The pods could see these as typically the creatures inhabiting the cities of things, but it is interesting to reflect on some differences.

From an outside perspective, the way they resemble human characteristics is very different. The last mile vehicles resemble other types of vehicles that we use for transport, while the robot-dogs are a new type of living creatures and touch upon more human-animal interactions often. The robot dogs are also a kind of democratization of industrial robots to a smaller and easier to adopt form factor. The new Stretch robot of Boston Dynamics, introduced last month, is another interesting example. It is positioned as a moveable logistics robot, taking stuff from a truck to the warehouse and vice versa. It is like a combination of a human worker with a tool like a forklift. That make these robots into three types of support connected to human capacities: replacing a delivery person with an autonomous moving bag, replacing the warehouse worker with autonomous lifting gear, and a human guarding or communicating position with an autonomous living object.

All of these are staying close to the objects or tools they replace. That is needed for the acceptance and for the transparency in what they do. Here we touch an important aspect; for acceptance in our regular life we need autonomous operating devices that are readable archetypes. For now.

Will this change? Will we give the autonomous operating citythings more credits for their own character, the authentic choices they might start making. Like the painting robots that create art, that is even sold as NFT. If the autonomous thing is just a predictable extension of human-operated things, there is no character to recognise, and would it be also not likely it will produce interesting art. So might it be a virtue to have non-explainable AI driving these characterful citythings, creating a kind of non-transparent working? In that situation, the relations we have are not are based on our human representations in the autonomous things but in the embodiment of the decisions the robotic things make…

This notion is opening up lots of new questions of course. To connect two interesting reads to dive into it more. First, in her trend presentation at SXSW, Amy Webb introduced the You of Things, where the personal connector is important in the context of networked objects. It is a nice capture of weak signals but deserves also more thinking. The translation into examples is quite basic still. A fundamental exploration on the change of what living things are, was done in this extensive article: “Living Things Are Not (20th Century) Machines: Updating Mechanism Metaphors in Light of the Modern Science of Machine Behavior“. New definitions of machines, robots, programs, software/hardware are proposed.

The science of behavior, applied to embodied computation in physical media that can be evolved or designed or both, is a new emerging field that will help us map and explore the enormous and fascinating space of possible machines across many scales of autonomy and composition.

Interesting to see how it plays out, also in relation to more hybrid systems, especially in a city context. That is something for another edition though.


Welcome to Cities of Things

Dear visitor, welcome to this compact website dedicated to the research activities under the label Cities of Things. As described in the About-page we (Elisa Giaccardi and myself) started shaping this research program at TU Delft Connected Everyday Lab in early 2017, at that moment still as PACT (Partnership in Cities of Things). The post-doc research of Maria Luce Lupetti and Nazli Cila delivered interesting research insights in the form of a workshop-format and papers (see more on Research page). In 2018 we established the Cities of Things Delft Design Lab, mainly to cater to master research projects with industry partners and building more research knowledge.

We noticed more and more attention to the research topic and now in 2020, we are looking into other forms of supporting services in different partnerships. That is one of the main reasons to start this separate website that is a switchboard to current and future initiatives around the theme. Next to being a start page to jump to other places, we will share in this section remarkable results of research and projects. To begin with, thinking about predictive relations, the more specific research I’m running.

To close this welcome, I like to invite you to contact me if you have any idea for corporations, projects, or partnerships. Also if your organisation is looking for exploring the domain of living together with new autonomous things or systems through the research and prototyping by a master student graduation project.