Mapping the Politics of Nature-Based Solutions

Over the past decade “nature-based solutions” have risen to prominence as part of international commitments to addressing different kinds of societal issues and public problems including climate change, biodiversity loss, well being, disaster reduction and economic development.

In this collaborative digital methods project we gather and repurpose online materials associated with “nature-based solutions” on a variety of platforms and online spaces in order to understand more about the origins, development and politics of this term.

The project included a series of workshops with campaigners and investigators from Global Witness, researchers from the departments of Geography and Digital Humanities at King’s College London and DensityDesign Lab at the Politecnico di Milano. It received support from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

For more about the project see:

A Field Guide to Algorithms

What are algorithms? Who and what do they involve? What do they do? What is at stake with them? How can we account for them? How can we respond to them?

Following on from the Field Guide to “Fake News”, A Field Guide To Algorithms aims to gather and curate different starting points, recipes, approaches, experiments in participation and activities for collective inquiry into algorithms and the collectives, cultures, infrastructures, imaginaries and practices associated with them.

Out of the Flames: Mapping the Politics of #AmazonFires

A collaboration with the European Forest Institute to explore forest governance and the changing role of forests in society according to web and social media data.

The project explores how the 2019 Amazon forest fires were addressed and accounted for through a series of analyses using online data from digital platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Youtube. More details here.

Ways of Listening to Forests

How can we sense and make sense of forests with devices, techniques and our bodies? How might we cultivate an interdisciplinary “arts of noticing” (Tsing) for attending to forests and their role in critical zones?

Engaging with themes in the Critical Zones exhibition and catalogue curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, this project explores different ways of listening to forests, drawing on different traditions, techniques, methods, media and approaches – from “Shinrin Yoku” (forest bathing) to sensing devices, data sonification to sound walks and storytelling.

The project includes a public workshop with ZKM as part of the Critical Zones exhibition to explore and compare different approaches and the possibilities and limits of forest experiences under current sensing conditions between immediacy and mediation.

For more on the use of digital data and devices to cultivate sensibilities towards trees and forests, see the Critical Zones field book and catalogue, including this chapter on “The Datafication of Forests”.

Image: Sound Sketch – Forest Rain – Liz K. Miller

Infrastructuring the Lab

How does the Public Data Lab operate? How does it engage with various actors, groups and publics? What kinds of infrastructures does it need in place in order to supports its activities? This project involves supporting and taking caring of the means through which the Public Data Lab and its projects and collaborations are materially organised, including its tools, servers, websites, blogs, mailing lists, channels and other materials.

You can find code for various Public Data Lab projects on Github.

Data Portal Explorer

What do data portals do? This initiative explores digital methods and approaches for studying data portals as online devices.

This includes gathering an international research group on data portal studies, as well as developing a prototype tool and open source software library for repurposing data portal metadata in order to examine public sector datafication and the configuration of portals as sites of participation around public data.