GEO-C: ENABLING OPEN CITIES AND THE OPEN CITY TOOLKIT
Keywords: Open cities, Smart cities, GIScience, participation, transparency, Open City Toolkit, doctoral programme, GEO-C
Abstract. The GEO-C doctoral programme, entitled “Geoinformatics: Enabling Open Cities”, is funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (International Training Networks (ITN), European Joint Doctorates) until December 2018, and is managed by three European universities in Germany, Portugal and Spain. 15 doctoral grantholders (Early Stage Researchers) were selected to work on specific three-year projects, all contributing to improving the notion of open cities, and specifically to an Open City Toolkit of methodologies, code, and best practice examples. Contributions include volunteered geographic information (VGI), public information displays, mobility apps to encourage green living, providing open data to immigrant populations, reducing the second-order digital divide, sensing of quality of life, proximity based privacy protection, and spatio-temporal online social media analysis. All doctoral students conducted long-term visits and were embedded in city governments and businesses, to gain experience from multiple perspectives in addition to the researcher and users’ perspective. The projects are situated within three areas: transparency, participation, and collaboration. They took mostly a bottom-up (citizen-centric) approach to (smart) open cities, rather than relying on large IT companies to create smart open cities in a top-down manner. This paper discusses the various contributions to enabling open cities, explains in some detail the Open City Toolkit, and its possible uses and impact on stakeholders. A follow-up doctoral program has been solicited and, if successful, will continue this line of research and will strengthen aspects of privacy, data provenance, and trust, in an effort to improve relations between data (e.g. news) publishers and consumers.