Sensors, maps, number crunching, and the Internet of Things: Reflections on the Smart Cities Expo

As the dust settles on Tech Week 2018, which was brilliantly opened in appropriate fashion by our prime minister appearing as a hologram, I thought I’d report back on the Smart Cities Expo, which was held in Christchurch last Monday. This was an opportunity for Christchurch City Council, and their commercial partners, to demonstrate some of the new technology they, and other cities around New Zealand, are using to increase their efficiency and provide better services to their citizens, while keeping costs as low as possible.

The smart city concept is essentially made up of three parts; (1) collection of data – often enormous amounts of it – about some aspect of the quality of the urban environment, or how the city is being used, (2) number crunching and visualization – often on maps – to make sense of all this information, and (3) using the results to make changes that improve the functioning of the city and enhance its citizens’ wellbeing.

Cover of The internet of thingsEasy to say, but hard to do! To take a simple example; sensors inside rubbish bins could be used to tell refuse collectors whether they need emptying, so that needless trips can be avoided, and resources can be deployed more effectively. To take this idea to its extreme, we can imagine a day when most of the things we own are collecting and sharing data that is used to improve the overall efficiency of the vast interconnected system to which they belong, to all our benefits. This has sometimes been called the Internet of Things (IoT) – a phrase that was ubiquitous throughout the Expo.

The focus of the Expo was mostly on technology, but there are, of course, significant social, legal, and ethical issues to be considered. For Smart Cities to work, we must be happy for these data to be collected, shared, and used for this purpose. We also need to be sure that the data are secure. Imagine the chaos that might ensue if someone was able to hack into the systems that run our city. Nevertheless, the feeling at the Expo was, as one might expect, optimistic that these challenges can be met, and there was even some talk of making data open access, available to everyone (suitably anonymized, of course) to empower all citizens to use it themselves in whatever way they see fit. In fact, a lot of data collected by government (both local and central) are already available, if you know where to look and how to make sense of it. For example, freely available data from the last year’s general election were used to make an interactive map of how party votes were distributed across different polling stations.

Many of the exhibits at the Expo focused on the first part of this triangle. There were devices for detecting and sensing all manner of things such as traffic, pollution, noise, vibration, etc. etc., to name just a few – the list is endless. In most cases, the data being collected are objective and easily quantifiable, but one particularly interesting application comes from a tool called Sensibel, which enables cyclists to record their subjective experiences as they cycle around the city. They can record a thumbs-up or thumbs-down at any point on their journey by pressing a button attached to their bike.

Using GPS, this records the location where it was pressed so that later on they can log in and give a lengthier explanation of what made them feel the way they did. As they do so they are presented with a view of the street where they were to jog their memory. Data collected in this way can be used to make improvements that will hopefully make cycling in the city a much more enjoyable experience, perhaps increasing the number of people prepared to ditch their cars and switch to a bike. The possibilities for using real-time data about personal experiences to make changes that will enrich our lives seem almost limitless, as long as we are prepared to share that information.

The second part of the triangle – data analysis – is harder, but again there were lots of fascinating exhibits demonstrating that rapid improvements are being made in this area. Perhaps the hardest thing of all is to translate all of this into meaningful actions – either short-term responses, medium-term policy development, or longer-term strategic directions.

It’s still early days for the Smart Cities approach, and there is much more progress to be made, but one thing is for sure, our data are increasingly going to inform how our city is run, so to be fully engaged we all need to be a bit more aware of how our data are collected and used. There has been a slew of excellent popular books about the uses and abuses of what is sometimes called “big data” published recently. Why not check some of these out of the library and explore what our future city might look like? Here are a few places you might like to start…

Big data

List created by robcruickshank

Books about the uses and abuses of “big data” and statistics. A toolkit for life in the digital age.

Cover of Automating inequalityAutomating Inequality – Argues that the use of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk modelling by governments and law enforcement agencies selectively disadvantages the poor, reinforcing existing power relationships and inequality in society.

The Efficiency Paradox – Questions whether, in our relentless pursuit of efficiency, we may as a society be missing opportunities to benefit from “the powerful potential of serendipity”.

Cover of Human + machineHuman + Machine – Explores the many ways – good and bad – that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the workplace.

Randomistas – Looks at how randomised controlled trials are increasingly being used outside their traditional home of medical science in areas as diverse as social policy, politics, business, and law enforcement.

View Full List

Find out more about Christchurch City Council’s Smart City Programme

Matariki – Māori New Year 2018

Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on 6-9 July 2018. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.

Matariki 2018 at Christchurch City Libraries continues the theme of ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’, this year with a focus on Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable natural resources of Matariki: Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi.

During June in the lead up to Māori New Year we’ll be offering a range of whānau-friendly celebrations and activities at our libraries.

Matariki promo image 2018

Matariki Toi – Community Art Project in the Library

Each year a community art project runs in our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is create a replica manu tukutuku (traditional Māori kite). Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.

Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes

In addition to our normal Storytimes we have Matariki Storytimes. Come celebrate and welcome the Māori New Year with stories, songs, rhymes and craft activities. All welcome, free of charge.

See our list of Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes.

Matariki storytimes
Matariki storytimes at Lyttelton Library, June 2017. File reference: 2017-06-Matariki-Matariki – Community Art Project LY 6

Matariki Whānau Fun Days – Saturday 9 & 23 June

Matariki StarsCelebrate Matariki at our two free whānau fun days! We’ll have art activities, colouring competitions, storytelling, exploring the stars with Skyview and much more!

Aranui Library
Saturday 9 June
10am-1pm

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre
Saturday 23 June
10am-1pm

Matariki Connect

Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.

Find all Matariki events at the library

Other Matariki events in Christchurch

Matariki Celebrations: The Arts Centre – 8 June – 22 July

The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community / whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities including a talk by Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, kapa haka, music and themed storytime sessions.

Matariki Celebration – Ara: Institute of Canterbury – 11-15 June

Ara will be having a whole programme of celebrations and activities 11-15 June across all of their campuses, including waiata, games, speakers, and food.

Matariki Celebration at Bromley Community Centre – Friday 15 June

Pop along to the Bromley Community Centre to celebrate Matariki (Māori New Year)
Free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase! Bromley School Kapa Haka Group will be performing at 4:30pm

4-7pm
Bromley Community Centre
45 Bromley Road

Matariki Star Craft – Saturday 16 June 11am

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Listen to a new story, The Stolen Stars of Marariki by Miriana Kamo and Zak Waipara, and then make your own Matariki mobile to take home.  Ages 4-9. $5 per child, book online.

Matariki in the Zone – Sunday 17 June

Organised by Avebury House, Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Richmond Community Garden.  Guests are encouraged to contribute produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm. Please RSVP to let them know participant numbers and harvest contribution at: www.aveburyhouse.co.nz

  • Māori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
  • Live music
  • Fun things to do for kids.
  • Shared kai of soups by Richard Till, and a hangi
  • blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden

Avebury House,
9 Eveleyn Couzins Ave
Richmond

Te Whare Roimata & the Linwood Community Arts Centre presents “Te Whare Maire O Nga Punawerewere” Festival of Maori Art & Culture Monday 18 June to Friday 6 July

Beginning on Monday 18th June at 5pm with a powhiri, this exhibition showcases contemporary and traditional art works by local Māori artists. Free Kapa haka classes will be held throughout the exhibition and follow the theme of the seven stars of Matariki. The classes offered this year are kite making, movies, waiata and a concert on the final night of Friday 6th July at 5pm.

The children’s activities will be held Tuesdays 4.30pm – 6.30pm & Fridays 5pm onwards throughout the exhibition.
Tuesday 19 June Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 22 June Traditional Games
Tuesday 26 June Movie night
Friday 29 June Whānau movie night
Tuesday 3 July Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 6 July Concert night.

There is no charge for classes however registrations are essential. Call 981 2881 to book. Children and families most welcome.

Eastside Gallery
388 Worcester Street
Gallery Hours:
Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm
Saturday 12pm – 3pm
Most art works will be for sale

Subscribe to the Facebook event.

Light Up Matariki Lantern Making Workshop – Sunday 24 June

Create nature inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Gardens. Combine twigs, leaves and paper to make LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki. Limited places and parents and guardians will be required to help with construction. Please note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7 to 12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Cost $5 per child.

10am to midday
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visitor Centre and Ilex Cafe
Rolleston Avenue

Matariki at the Hub – Sunday 24 June

Celebrating Matariki at the Phillipstown Community Hub!
A family day with lots of activities, bouncy castle, face painting, carving, music, waiata, traditional sports, photo booths, arts & crafts, kapa haka, and – of course – kai!

11am-2pm
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Road
Christchurch

Rehua Marae Matariki Whānau Day – Saturday 30 June

Matariki celebrations at Rehua Marae – subscribe to the Facebook event.
Kai and craft stalls, entertainment from local kapa haka and Maori musicians, free workshops. Entertainment: Kaitaka Tupuna O Rehua, Nga Toi O Te Rangi, Lisa Tui, Nga Manu a Tane, Mahina Kaui, Te Ahikaaroa, Te Kotahitanga, and the Koro Band. Workshops (start at 11.30) include star weaving, miniature kite making, tiki making, lantern making,and poi making. Some workshops have limited spaces.

The mobile library van will also be on site.

11am-3pm
Rehua Marae
79 Springfield Road
Christchurch

Matariki at Rehua Marae
Rehua Marae, St Albans, Christchurch. Saturday 28 June 2014. File Reference: 2014-06-28-IMG_0501

Matariki Market Day – Thursday 5 July

A student led market with stalls, performances and lots of fun. All welcome.

2pm to 4pm
Haeata Community Campus
240 Breezes Road

Matariki Night Makete / Markets – Friday-Saturday, 6-7 July

The Matariki Night Markets will include:

  • Kapa Haka performances and NZ music from singer songwriters
  • Traditional kai and New Zealand favourites such as fish and chips and pavlova
  • Art, crafts, jewellery all with a New Zealand feel/twist

4-10pm
The Arts Centre
2 Worcester Boulevard
Christchurch Central

Matariki Dawn Planting – Sunday 15 July

Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki the Māori New Year with a dawn karakia and tree planting as a symbol of new beginnings. The dawn planting will be followed by a hui with kai (bring a plate of food to share) and discussion of the plans for the next 12 months for this new park.

There will also second planting event at 10am. This planting event is suitable for families.

Rongoā Garden – Styx
565R Marshland Road
Ouruhia
Christchurch

More on Matariki

 

Lighthouse, Akaroa: Picturing Canterbury

Lighthouse, Akaroa [1898]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 9, IMG0091.
The Akaroa lighthouse began operation in Jan. 1880 with an oil-illuminated light. It was converted to electric power from a diesel generator in Nov. 1951 and later to the mains power supply. It operated manually from Akaroa Head 1886-1977, when it was replaced by an automatic light. The building was shifted to Akaroa township in Oct. 1980.

Do you have any photographs of the Akaroa lighthouse? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

KidsFest 2018

KidsFest is full of winter holiday fun for kids in Christchurch and Canterbury. It runs from 7 to 21 July. KidsFest is always popular and many events book out quickly, so have a look and secure your spot! Tickets are on sale now!

KidsFest at Christchurch City Libraries

Coolstuff will be visiting our libraries in the two weeks before KidsFest. Come along and say “Hi!” and be in to win some sweet prizes! Pick up a special KidsFest colouring sheet and a More FM Mata Riki Parade instruction sheet and you could win even MORE prizes! Free event, no bookings required.

July 2018 holiday programmes

During school holidays our libraries and learning centres offer a mix of free, drop-in activities and bookable classes with a small charge per child.

Free, Drop-in holiday activities

Free, drop-in holiday activities – there is no charge or booking required for these sessions.

  • Create your own mini world (sessions at various libraries and times)
    Come and make your own mini world or diorama using shoe boxes, plenty of craft materials and your imagination!
  • Shadow puppets Linwood Library at Eastgate, Tuesday 10 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Board games Linwood Library at Eastgate, Thursday 12 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Board games Linwood Library at Eastgate, Tuesday 17 July 3pm to 4pm
  • Makerspace Linwood Library at Eastgate, Wednesday 18 July 3pm to 4pm

Craft a Creature workshops are part of our Dr Seuss Creation Competition

Come to a free Craft a Creature workshop, where we’ll have loads of material available for use (the workshops are on from 10 July to 19 July).

Bookable holiday activities

Bookings are required for the following programmes – call (03) 941 7923 or email:learningcentre@ccc.govt.nz (conditions apply).

Makey Makey Music with Scratch

Learn how to create and code your very own electronic instrument using Makey Makey and Scratch. You’ll learn how to build a musical instrument out of cardboard and make it come to life! No prior coding experience or electronics knowledge necessary.
Ages: 8–10 years
Cost: $7

RoboFun

Working with a range of robots, you’ll learn the basics of how robots work and how to programme them to use sensors to complete a set of challenges.
Ages: 10 years+
Cost: $15

Stop Motion Animation

Get creative using Lego and discover the process of producing animated movies. Plan a story themed on being kind to our world, create a set and craft your own movie using stop motion photography.
Ages: 8–12 years
Cost: $20

My First Book

An interactive programme for kids to create their very own digital story or comic book.
Ages: 5–7 years
Cost: $7

Minecraft Game Zone

Minecraft Game Zone is a 3D gaming experience that involves creating your own virtual world and interacting with others online. To really enjoy this programme, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of Minecraft. Book in for a two hour session and play to your heart’s content.
Ages: 8–12 years
Cost: $7

Minecraft 3D Paper Design

Minecraft is a virtual world where you can discover and create interesting worlds. This event takes it to the next level! Learn how to use graphic design tools to create your own paper 3D Minecraft character.
Ages: 7–10 years
Cost: $15

This is the way we sing and play

Join the Julie Wylie Musical Play team at this interactive musical event for parents, grandparents, caregivers and children aged 2–4 years (younger and older children are welcome to attend). You’ll enjoy a range of musical play activities which promote singing, listening, moving and playing. Children and adults will have great fun together, as they respond musically with props such as the parachute, rainbow ring and organza. Look out for the Julie Wylie Musical Play rainbow flag!

Email juliewyliemusicalplay@gmail.com to book your space. Children $10 (babies who are not yet crawling, only $5) and caregivers $5.

More cool KidsFest events

The Big Chill at Linwood Park – Saturday 7 July 12pm

Kicking off KidsFest 2018 is The Big Chill in Linwood Park, full of wacky activities, skate boarding, bouncy castles, faeries and fury creatures.

More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade – Saturday 21 July, 4.30–6.30pm

The More FM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade starts in Cathedral Square. Join an exciting exploratory night time journey through central Christchurch from Cathedral Square to The Terraces around the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. Bring along your own creations, lanterns, wearable light art or torches. Mata Riki or Little Faces is connected with celebrating Māori New Year – the perfect match for the KidsFest Parade. Dress up warm.

More FM Lantern Parade 2016

CoCA Create! Printing Workshops

Work together and dye, paint, print, and create a large colourful installation of ribbons in response to Tiffany Singh’s Om Mani Padme Hum at CoCA.

Ages: 5 to 13
Cost: $10 Caregiver optional (but required for under 8 year olds) (free)
Book online, phone 366 7261 or email info@coca.org.nz

  • Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 July 11am to 12.30pm

CoCA Create! Cardboard Construction

This workshop will involve a large scale communal project where kids will learn manipulation and fastening techniques with cardboard craft architecture.

Ages: 5 to 13
Cost: $10 Caregiver optional (but required for under 8 year olds) (free)
Book online, phone 366 7261 or email info@coca.org.nz

  • Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 July 11am to 12.30pm

Info from CoCA curator Jen:

Our KidsFest events are in response to Tiffany Singh’s exhibition, A Collective Voice, which consists of two major recent installations of hers reconfigured for CoCA. Gaby Montejo is running two workshops in response to the two works! The ribbon printing workshop is in response to OM MANI PADME HUM, a work consisting of over 1500 metres of colourful silk ribbon hanging from our walls, creating an immersive experience, and the cardboard construction workshop responds to the themes of storytelling and citybuilding in Journey of a Million Miles, which collects and shares stories of migration to New Zealand. Both of the works are really socially conscious and encourage empathy and compassion, so we’re aiming for the workshops to reflect that.

Image of OM MANI PADME HUM by Tiffany Singh. Image supplied.

SCAPE Public Art – Bubbles Painting

Come and experience the fun and quirky artwork Conduct Cumulus in the South Quad at the Arts Centre. We’ll explore the artwork by walking around it and experiencing it together, then move into The Common Room to create a unique bubble painting. Gold coin donation appreciated.

Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 July; Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 July
10.30 am to 11.30am; and 1pm to 2pm

Christchurch Art Gallery – The Moon and Crawling Colour

We read Jimmy and Jane and the Tale of the Yellow Moon, a humorous story about moon-dwelling Lunatrons and what happens when colour comes into their world. Then make your own raised painting using salt and dye and see how it morphs into an amazing array of colours and patterns.

  • Ages: 5 to 7
  • Cost: $8 Caregiver required (free)
  • Bookings essential. Book online, phone 941 7382 or email Lana.Coles@ccc.govt.nz

Monday 9 to Friday 13 July 11am to 12pm
Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 11am to 12pm

Christchurch Art Gallery – Rama Tuna – KidsFest Paper Lantern Workshops

The Rama Tuna lesson is led by Māori artist Piri Cowie, and will focus on the cultural significance of Tuna from Ngai Tahu and Māori perspective. We will be creating paper lanterns that may be used in the MoreFM Mata Riki KidsFest Parade.

  • Ages: 8 to 13
  • Cost: FREE! Children only
  • Bookings essential

Thursday 12 July 3pm to 4.30pm
Friday 13 July 3pm to 4.30pm

Christchurch Art Gallery – Clay World

You’ll adore rolling, squeezing, twirling and pulling clay to sculpt animals, make jewellery, create dinosaur fossils or simply let your imagination run riot and create  something unique!

  • Ages 7-11
  • Cost $10
  • Caregiver optional (free)*  (but required for under 8 year olds).
  • Bookings recommended, Book online, phone 941 7382 or email Lana.Coles@ccc.govt.nz

Monday 9 to Friday 13 July 1pm to 2.15pm
Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 1pm to 2.15pm

Galactic night at the Museum

The Museum is changing up their annual Explorer night at the Museum. We go most years, it is busy and fun romping around the Museum on a cold winter night. This July, join in the Galactic Night at the Museum.

Calling all space invaders, star trekkers and aliens. Explore a galaxy, not so far away, in an astronomical after-hours adventure at the Museum. Dress up as your favourite space character or creature and follow the clues to unscramble some amazing space facts. You could win a prize! Koha appreciated. Free and no bookings required.

Tuesday 10 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 12 July 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday 17 July 6pm to 8pm
Thursday 19 July 6pm to 8pm

The Christchurch Brick Show – Saturday and Sunday 14 and 15 July

Fun for all the family – amazing LEGO displays to admire, hands-on play areas, and more. Don’t miss out on this amazing LEGO exhibition. Enthusiasts and collectors alike will display their designs, collections and contraptions. Children will also have the chance to get hands-on with a fun LEGO play area.

Like The Christchurch Brick Show on Facebook.

Subscribe to The Christchurch Brick Show Facebook event.

  • All ages
  • Cost: $5
The Christchurch Brick Show 2015

See the full list of fun stuff to do on the KidsFest website.

Find out more

eResources for kids

Here’s another things for kids – whether on holiday or during term. Our eResources enhance kids’ learning, fun and play.They are free, and all you need is your library card number and password / PIN.

Kids eResources