Soft Infrastructure of Decidim

Decidim Barcelona

 

We studied the Soft Infrastructure of the digital platform. Published under Creative Commons in Computational Culture Issue 9 (July 2023).

 

Paolo Cardullo, Ramon Ribera-Fumaz, and Paco González Gil (TURBA, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, UOC Barcelona)  offer an insider’s perspective on the development of Decidim, a free and open-source software platform for civic participation created in collaboration with Barcelona City Council under the recent mayorship of Ada Colau and Barcelona en Comu’. This platform is designed to foster accountability, transparency, and civic participation in local politics. Born partly out of the ‘movement of the squares’, the software strives to emulate the mass open decision-making and deliberation integral to city life. Here, the platform’s key developers reflect on its inception.

Open Access publication via Computational Culture, Issue 9, and the SocArXiv repository on Open Science Framework DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/JASD7

 

 

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kiddingthecity is…

 

…a webspace created by Paolo Cardullo in 2007 during his PhD at Goldsmiths University of London. It has gone through a few updates building up on my projects and publications

#OCTV

#OCTV

 

Art installation with CCTV cameras at Goldsmiths University of London. 2013

In conversation with media artist James Steven from the collective SPC, I curated an installation with CCTV cameras at Goldsmiths, University of London, in July 2013. This experiment complemented a panel discussion on video surveillance we organised at the International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) annual conference ‘Public Image’. The aim was to raise awareness of the complexities of CCTV systems and to open up a debate beyond the discourse of power and control, which CCTV is usually associated with. Pre-print (2017) CCTV oddity: Archaeology and aesthetics of video surveillance, Visual Studies, Routledge. DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2017.1328988 →→→SocArXiv pre-print @ Open Science Framework.

#OCTV consisted of six surveillance cameras streaming live from selected conference rooms to video displays positioned in each of the six rooms. Each camera feed was then linked to a webpage, made visible as a QR-code to scan, that is, as a composition of black and white pixels in the characteristic square shape. Any mobile phone was therefore able to connect to the ‘control room’ page, and then to switch to the desired camera.

→→→ see my collaboration to the ‘CCTV Sniffing’ workshops, powered by Deptfod.tv and SPC→→→ see my article about the ‘Sniffing’ workshops (2014)

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kiddingthecity is…

 

…a webspace created by Paolo Cardullo in 2007 during his PhD at Goldsmiths University of London. It has gone through a few updates building up on my projects and publications

Open Wireless Network

Open Wireless Network

 

Community wi-fi mesh in Deptford, London (2008-2014 ca.)

OWN was a mesh of Wi-Fi radios set up by James Stevens and SPC in 2008 in Deptford, London SE8, an innercity borough with a history of migration and working-class labour stretching to the imperial docks. Deptford features vast council-owned housing estates, housing associations, and still affordable solutions for students from the near Goldsmiths, University of London. OWN picked to more than 400 daily users and about 100 nodes, a few years ago. Due to funding and time constraints, as well as to the less stringent digital divide brought by 4g phones and flexible broadband provision, OWN was temporarily abandoned in 2014.

OWN set mostly around the Creekside, where the river Ravensbourne touches the strong tides of the nearby Thames. This is the latest gentrification frontier in SE London, with developers putting a lot of emphasis on the ‘cultural quarter’: Deptford is now said to be second only to Shoreditch for number of artists, studios, and exhibitions. In this controversial and evolving scenario, OWN provided free access to the ‘commercial Internet’ plus the possibility to experiment with mesh networking for local residents.

 

I was fortunate enough to be part of the early stages of this evolving network, hosting a node in my own flat for a few years, and participating to the weekly drop-in workshop called ‘Wireless Wednesday’. I have written a paper on the connections between wireless proximity and anonymity – published as a book chapter for Communicating the City (Peter Lange); and another one discussing the intricate connections between gentrification and the independent wireless network – this is now published as ‘Gentrification in the mesh? An ethnography of Open Wireless Network (OWN) in Deptford’, City (Routledge). The paper narrates a social history of OWN and the gentrification of Creekside →Download the pre-print

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kiddingthecity is…

 

…a webspace created by Paolo Cardullo in 2007 during his PhD at Goldsmiths University of London. It has gone through a few updates building up on my projects and publications

Zotpress and Me

What I have been reading (some) 

Some of the readings most recently added to My Zotero here rendered through the ZotPress plug-in

Pansera, M., Marsh, A., Owen, R., Flores López, J. A., & De Alba Ulloa, J. L. (2023). Exploring Citizen Participation in Smart City Development in Mexico City: An institutional logics approach. Organization Studies, 44(10), 1679–1701. https://doi.org/10.1177/01708406221094194
Cugurullo, F., Caprotti, F., Cook, M., Karvonen, A., McGuirk, P., & Marvin, S. (2023). Artificial Intelligence and the City: Urbanistic Perspectives on AI (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003365877
Artificial Intelligence and the City.pdf. (n.d.). Google Docs. Retrieved March 14, 2024, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1moQEGQraOzP7MjotwUPwoo0zSKB6zDUl/view?usp=drive_web&usp=embed_facebook
van der Vlist, F., Helmond, A., & Ferrari, F. (2024). Big AI: Cloud infrastructure dependence and the industrialisation of artificial intelligence. Big Data & Society, 11(1), 20539517241232630. https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517241232630
Bonini, T., & Treré, E. (2024). Algorithms of Resistance: The Everyday Fight against Platform Power. The MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/14329.001.0001
Floridi, L. (2020). The Fight for Digital Sovereignty: What It Is, and Why It Matters, Especially for the EU. Philosophy & Technology, 33(3), 369–378. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-020-00423-6
Chander, A., & Sun, H. (Eds.). (2023). Data Sovereignty: From the Digital Silk Road to the Return of the State. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197582794.001.0001
AQ Compute. (2023). Our data center in Barcelona. AQ Compute. https://aq-compute.com/data-centers/aq-bcn1/
Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact. (2023). The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact Announces its First Certifications of Adherence. https://www.climateneutraldatacentre.net/2023/07/06/the-climate-neutral-data-centre-pact-announces-its-first-certifications-of-adherence/
Moro, J. (2021). Air-Conditioning the Internet: Data Center Securitization as Atmospheric Media. Media Fields Journal. http://mediafieldsjournal.org/air-conditioning-the-internet/2021/4/26/air-conditioning-the-internet-data-center-securitization-as.html
Gonzalez Monserrate, S. (2022, February 14). The Staggering Ecological Impacts of Computation and the Cloud. The MIT Press Reader. https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/the-staggering-ecological-impacts-of-computation-and-the-cloud/
Parc de l`Alba (Barcelona, Spain). (n.d.). Wedistrict. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from https://www.wedistrict.eu/virtual_demosites/parc-de-lalba-barcelona-spain/
Pansera, M., Lloveras, J., & Durrant, D. (2024). The infrastructural conditions of (de-)growth: The case of the internet. Ecological Economics, 215, 108001. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2023.108001
Mozur, P., Bradsher, K., Liu, J., & Krolik, A. (2024, February 22). Leaked Files Show the Secret World of China’s Hackers for Hire. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/22/business/china-leaked-files.html
Crawford, K. (2024). Generative AI’s environmental costs are soaring — and mostly secret. Nature, 626(8000), 693–693. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00478-x
Silcox, N. S., Hunter Vaughan, Anne Pasek, Nicholas R. (2023). Disaggregated Footprints: An Infrastructural Literacy Approach to the Sustainable Internet. In The Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia Studies. Routledge.
Abbing, R. R. (2021). ‘This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes offline’: a design inquiry into degrowth and ICT. LIMITS Workshop on Computing within Limits. https://doi.org/10.21428/bf6fb269.e78d19f6
Comment, P. J. (2022, February 17). Dutch government halts hyperscale data centers, pending new rules. https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/dutch-government-halts-hyperscale-data-centers-pending-new-rules/
Comment, P. J. (2022, August 16). Drought-stricken Holland discovers Microsoft data center slurped 84m liters of drinking water last year. https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/drought-stricken-holland-discovers-microsoft-data-center-slurped-84m-liters-of-drinking-water-last-year/
Vol. 18 The Nature of Data Centers. (2019, March 23). Culture Machine. https://culturemachine.net/vol-18-the-nature-of-data-centers/
Hogan, M. (2015). Data flows and water woes: The Utah Data Center. Big Data & Society, 2(2), 205395171559242. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951715592429
Edwards, D., Cooper, Z. G. T., & Hogan, M. (2024). The making of critical data center studies. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 13548565231224156. https://doi.org/10.1177/13548565231224157
Hogan, M. (2023). “Environmental media” in the cloud: The making of critical data center art. New Media & Society, 25(2), 384–404. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221149942
Traynor, J. (2024, February 15). Power grab: the hidden costs of Ireland’s datacentre boom. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/15/power-grab-hidden-costs-of-ireland-datacentre-boom
Doidge, F. (2022). A waste of energy: Dealing with idle servers in the datacentre. Computer Weekly. https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/A-waste-of-energy-Dealing-with-idle-servers-in-the-datacentre
Buyya, R., Ilager, S., & Arroba, P. (2024). Energy‐efficiency and sustainability in new generation cloud computing: A vision and directions for integrated management of data centre resources and workloads. Software: Practice and Experience, 54(1), 24–38. https://doi.org/10.1002/spe.3248
Bast, D., Carr, C., Madron, K., & Syrus, A. M. (2022). Four reasons why data centers matter, five implications of their social spatial distribution, one graphic to visualize them. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 54(3), 441–445. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X211069139
Carr, C., Bast, D., Madron, K., & Syrus, A. M. (2022). Mapping the clouds: the matter of data centers. Journal of Maps, 18(1), 106–113. https://doi.org/10.1080/17445647.2022.2088304
Depoorter, V., Oró, E., & Salom, J. (2015). The location as an energy efficiency and renewable energy supply measure for data centres in Europe. Applied Energy, 140, 338–349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.11.067

Thanks For Browsing!

kiddingthecity is…

 

…a webspace created by Paolo Cardullo in 2007 during his PhD at Goldsmiths University of London. It has gone through a few updates building up on my projects and publications