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Smart cities, big data and urban policy: towards urban analytics for the long run

Kandt, J; Batty, M; (2021) Smart cities, big data and urban policy: towards urban analytics for the long run. Cities , 109 , Article 102992. 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102992. Green open access

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Abstract

The analysis of big data is deemed to define a new era in urban research, planning and policy. Real-time data mining and pattern detection in high-frequency data can now be carried out at a large scale. Novel analytical practices promise smoother decision-making as part of a more evidence-based and smarter urbanism. Critical voices highlight the dangers and pitfalls of instrumental, data-driven city making to urban governance. Less attention has been devoted to identifying the practical conditions under which big data can realistically contribute to addressing urban policy problems. In this paper, we discuss the value and limitations of big data for long-term urban policy and planning. We first develop a theoretical perspective on urban analytics as a practice that is part of a new smart urbanism. We identify a particular challenge that arises out of the opposed temporalities of high-frequency data and the long durée of the structural challenges facing cities. Drawing on empirical studies using big urban data, we highlight epistemological and practical challenges that arise from the analysis of high-frequency data for strategic purposes. We then formulate propositions on the ways in which urban analytics can inform long-term urban policy.

Type: Article
Title: Smart cities, big data and urban policy: towards urban analytics for the long run
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102992
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102992
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Big data, mobilities, smart cities, urban analytics, urban policy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112376
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