Tag Archives: urban data

New paper: Data-driven, networked urbanism

A new paper, ‘Data-driven, networked urbanism’, has been published by Rob Kitchin as Programmable City Working Paper 14.  The paper has been prepared for the Data and the City workshop to be held at Maynooth University Aug 31th-Sept 1st.


For as long as data have been generated about cities various kinds of data-informed urbanism have been occurring.  In this paper, I argue that a new era is presently unfolding wherein data-informed urbanism is increasingly being complemented and replaced by data-driven, networked urbanism.  Cities are becoming ever more instrumented and networked, their systems interlinked and integrated, and vast troves of big urban data are being generated and used to manage and control urban life in real-time. Data-driven, networked urbanism, I contend, is the key mode of production for what have widely been termed smart cities.  In this paper I provide a critical overview of data-driven, networked urbanism and smart cities focusing in particular on the relationship between data and the city (rather than network infrastructure or computational or urban issues), and critically examine a number of urban data issues including: the politics of urban data; data ownership, data control, data coverage and access; data security and data integrity; data protection and privacy, dataveillance, and data uses such as social sorting and anticipatory governance; and technical data issues such as data quality, veracity of data models and data analytics, and data integration and interoperability.  I conclude that whilst data-driven, networked urbanism purports to produce a commonsensical, pragmatic, neutral, apolitical, evidence-based form of responsive urban governance, it is nonetheless selective, crafted, flawed, normative and politically-inflected.  Consequently, whilst data-driven, networked urbanism provides a set of solutions for urban problems, it does so within limitations and in the service of particular interests.

Key words: big data, data analytics, governance, smart cities, urban data, urban informatics, urban science

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The politics and praxis of urban data: Building the Dublin Dashboard

Earlier today Rob Kitchin presented a paper jointly written with Gavin McArdle and Sophia Maalsen at the Association of American Geographers meeting in Chicago titled: The politics and praxis of urban data: Building the Dublin Dashboard.  The submitted abstract is below, along with the powerpoint slides.  Hopefully the full written paper will be published as a working paper shortly.

This paper critically reflects on the building of the Dublin Dashboard (www.dublindashboard.ie) from the perspective of critical data studies.  The Dashboard is a website that provides citizens, planners, policy makers and companies with an extensive set of data and data visualizations about Dublin City, including real-time information, indicator trends, inter and intra-urban benchmarking, interactive maps, the location of services, and a means to directly report issues to city authorities.  The data used in the Dashboard is open and available for others to build their own apps.  One member of the development team was an ethnographer who attended meetings, observed and discussed with key actors the creation of the Dashboard and its attendant praxis and politics up to the point of its launch in September 2014.  This paper draws on that material to consider the contextual, contingent, iterative and relational unfolding of the Dashboard and the emergent politics of data and design.  In so doing, it reveals the contested and negotiated politics of smart city initiatives.