Ubicity is an investigation of the place of security and surveillance in ‘smart’, ‘intelligent’ or ‘ubiquitous’ cities in three countries (Canada, the USA and the UK). Funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Ubicity is based in the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Ontario, with partners at the University of North Carolina, USA. and the Global Urban Research Unit (GURU), Newcastle University, and it will run from 2014 to 2019. The project has 8 objectives:
- To discover how widespread are smart or intelligent or ubiquitous urban projects in promotion, planning and in reality.
- To understand the key components and characteristics of smart city projects.
- To understand what is defined as ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ within these projects (and what is missing).
- To uncover the drivers of the spread of smart city projects.
- To reveal the significance or otherwise of security concerns in smart city projects.
- To understand what data is collected as part of smart city projects, how it is used, where it flows and who has access to it.
- To make an assessment of how such developments are changing and will change the management of places, populations and commercial activity.
- To understand the relationship of smart city projects to individual rights (e.g. privacy, freedom of speech and assembly etc.), collective rights (e.g. public space, social and environmental justice etc.), and other social and political concerns, and to make recommendations for how actual and potential problems might be addressed.
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