Policy Brief: Data gathering as a transformative process for the common good

Date of publication
Metropolis and Cities Coallition for Digital Rights
Smart city and technology
Type of resources
Policy Brief
Worldwide urban phenomena generate an enormous amount of data and, during the last two decades, the volume, accessibility and speed at which it is produced has increased significantly.
This evolution can be explained by the democratisation of gadgets for both personal (wearables, smartphones, etc.) and governmental use (sensors, satellite images, etc.), and also the data gathered by, for example, social networks and public and private apps. All this creates a scenario in which local governments have to implement, evaluate and design public policies within a paradox: the city and its inhabitants are producing a huge amount of data (data overload), but these datasets do not reflect the information required for the decision-making process (data dearth). To overcome this situation, we need to rethink the data gathering process in order to obtain more inclusive datasets both in terms of representation and accessibility to them.
To advance that goal, city stakeholders need to work together to build a shared vision: data is a common good for designing appropriate public policies that improve people’s quality of life.
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