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Urban Informatics Ann Arbor 2015

September 26, 2015 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Urban Informatics Ann Arbor 2015

Urban informatics is an interdisciplinary field of researchers and practitioners interested in using information technology for the analysis, management, and planning of cities. It encompasses not only technical skills for technology development and data analysis, but also exploration of the ethical, legal, and policy questions created by new urban technologies. As a cross-cutting discipline, urban informatics crosses traditional silos, and features ties with the fields of housing, environment, transportation, public health, and more.

Urban Informatics Ann Arbor is an unconference to connect people working in this emerging field at the University of Michigan and in the Detroit metropolitan region. In the unconference tradition, there will be no set program, and participants are encouraged to bring their questions, problems, or projects to share during participatory sessions. Topics of interest include:

  • Mapping and spatial analysis of urban phenomena conducted with desktop or online GIS
  • Citizen interaction design of technologies for participation, and knowledge creation
  • Ubiquitous urban information is the use of innovative information technologies to create pervasive computing environments – or the city as a computer
  • Analysis and visualization of urban data from traditional and new sources, including administrative datasets, big data, social media, and others
  • Creation of open data and application programming interfaces to facilitate analysis and unlock public value
  • Modeling to better understand urban systems
  • Implementation discussions encompassing social entrepreneurship, intrepreneurship, design thinking, and collaborative planning and governance
  • Examination of legal and policy issues including privacy, copyright, open licensing and  public safety
  • Debate about “smart city” concepts, examples, and technologies

Pre-registration is optional, but encouraged.

Register here

About the Event Format
An unconference follows the principles of “open space,” a group meeting methodology which has been practiced by thousands of groups worldwide. At an unconference, participants provide the session topics and goals, and choose which sessions appeal to them. Sessions can include short presentations, discussions, brainstorming, or other creative activities. Several principles contribute to a successful event. The most important is known as the Law of Two Feet, which means that all participants must take responsibility for what they care about. If during the course of a gathering, any person finds themself in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place. In addition, four principles guide how participants navigate an open space:

  • Whoever comes are the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it starts is the right time
  • When it’s over, it’s over

Urban Informatics Ann Arbor will begin with an opening session which will populate the day’s agenda, include three break-out sessions and a provided lunch, and conclude with a wrap-up session where participants will briefly report on their experience at the event. Participants are invited to bring prepared materials or presentation slides, however in keeping with the unconference format, participants should remain flexible, and plan to speak for no more than 15 minutes.

Robert Goodspeed, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Cliff Lampe, UM School of Information
Scott TenBrink, UM School of Information
Kelly Kowatch, UM School of Information



September 26, 2015
9:30 am - 4:00 pm