The Quantified Community and Neighborhood Labs: A Framework for Computational Urban Planning and Civic Technology Innovation

December 06, 2016 by Constantine E. Kontokosta

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This paper presents the conceptual framework and justification for a “Quantified Community” (QC) and a networked experimental environment of neighborhood labs. The QC is a fully instrumented urban neighborhood that uses an integrated, expandable, and participatory sensor network to support the measurement, integration, and analysis of neighborhood conditions, social interactions and behavior, and sustainability metrics to support public decision-making. Through a diverse range of sensor and automation technologies -- combined with existing data generated through administrative records, surveys, social media, and mobile sensors -- information on human, physical, and environmental elements can be processed in real-time to better understand the interaction and effects of the built environment on human well-being and outcomes. The goal is to create an “informatics overlay” that can be incorporated into future urban development and planning that supports the benchmarking and evaluation of neighborhood conditions, provides a test-bed for measuring the impact of new technologies and policies, and responds to the changing needs and preferences of the local community.