WSI Distinguished lecture with Rob Kitchin

On 5th December, the Web Science Institute invited Professor Rob Kitchin of Maynooth University to discuss the praxes and politics of building city dashboard. Rob Kitchin is the principal investigator on Programmable City project and the Building City Dashboard project. Nowadays, City dashboards are increasingly becoming a tool for urban management and governance. The lecture considers the creation and uses from both a technical development perspective and that of critical studies.

The smart tech which applies by urban big data influence in various aspects including Government, security, emergency services, transport, emergency, waste, environment and buildings. The urban dashboards provide a visual means to organise and interact with data, and demonstrates in detail and in real-time the state of play of cities. Moreover, city dashboards translate the messiness and complexities of cities into rational, detailed, systematic, ordered forms of knowledge. “City dashboard lets us know the city it actually is, and helps us to understand what’s going on,” said Professor Rob Kitchin.

On another side of the city dashboard, Rob Kitchin considered there are six critical issues: epistemology, scope and assess, veracity and validity, usability and utility, and ethics. These six issues designed to expose the politics and praxes of city dashboards. Rob Kitchin demonstrated the issue of access is significant in Dublin Dashboard project. Even though the data are available, there are often issues related to data measurement, data format and media, metadata, data standards, a model of sharing. Furthermore, one of the issues with use and utility, Rob Kitchin mentioned that City dashboards used in three main ways: monitoring performance and manage urban service, understand and formulate policy, create public knowledge.

The dashboards redesign as visualised change with data stories. Rob Kitchin claimed they are trying a different way to access the data. The modern technical tool such as VR, AR, and Web3GL are in the project. They also try to apply dashboards in 3D and play around that in a different device. It can demonstrate accurate details.

Rob Kitchin concluded that urban data is proliferating as are the way to make sense and act on those data. City dashboards are one way to collate, process, visualise, analyse, and share urban data and contextually emergent. However, Rob Kitchin also advocated the need for city dashboards to design base on users feedback, design principle, openness, and reproducibility.

Blog written by Erica Chang (Shu-Yu Chang)


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