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1. INTRODUCTION

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It is unclear whether the rise of Big Data will usher in a new digital age of extreme productivity, near-free goods and services and the shrinking of capitalism (RIFKIN), or, the prelude to a situation in which better technology in the long run means more unemployment and an eventual socialist backlash. (LANIER) Either way, it’s coming.

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2. THE PROBLEM

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Buildings don’t adapt well. “When we deal with buildings, we deal with decisions taken long ago for remote reasons. We argue with anonymous predecessors and lose. Stewart Brand”
A building is often thought of in terms of a static, solidary, unmovable mass. Some architects live for the belief that a building might survive after them, “The building is the Architect’s play-thing (Alexander)”.

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3. BUILDING ADAPTABILITY

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But what should buildings adapt to?
Often times, it is one person, or one group of people that define their own vision for the city, suggesting that their solution is the answer to the problems plaguing urban daily life.

The daily living and working conditions of a city should not fall to one person or one small group of planners. MORE »

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4. BIG DATA

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The above introduction mentions the imminent data boom and the technology evolving out of the need for its analysis and storage. But perhaps an introduction as to what Big Data is and is not is overdue.
Big Data; its name probably gives you a clue, but lets break it down:
1. Big: of considerable size or extent.
2. Data: Pieces of information.

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5. THE INTERNET OF THINGS

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The Internet of Things (IOT) refers to physical objects that are connected to a network, containing embedded technology to communicate, and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.

So, these ‘things’ are contributing to the Data pool. But just how much?Information technology research and advisory firm, Gartner predict that the ‘things’ will soon outstrip smartphones, tablets and PCs: MORE »

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6. MACHINE LEARNING

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But how can we make sense of the torrents of data being supplied by the internet of things? Who will be responisble for troving through the ones and zeroes to make informed decisions and to recognise possible patterns? The job will obviously fall to an algorithm, but how will it be employed and how will it adapt?

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7. THE SMART CITY TRAP

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It is impossible to complete research on the Internet of Things in the built environment without getting lost in the ‚Smart City‘ promise.
What appeas at first to be the pinnacle of 21st century technology and urbanism quickly amalgamated into better living for everyone quickly loses its appeal when you look more closely at the always-rendered imagery or the attractive people overcoming life’s problems like ordering milk online.
The rhetoric is always the same, the smart city will overcome all the short-comings of modern urban life. Congestion, pollution and the hustle and bustle of everyday life will all be a thing of the past in your shiny new Smart City.

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8. AN OPEN DATA ENVIRONMENT

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Greenfield proposes a situation in which the same infrastrcuture used to capture, visualise and analyse the data of an Intelligent Operatcion Center could be used by the same citizens that generate data. It could be used to raise questions of equity and the distribution of municipal resources and to open up questions of power and access.

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