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The Future of Open Urbanism

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piratejulie
piratejulie  
12/23/2012 7:39:53 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Open data
You raise this fact : Many consumers don't know what Big Data is.  Would you agree that IBM has done a fairly good job of being on message about Big Data?  I inquire as an observer of online / print media in the tech space; particularly advertising, as it concerns innovation and information.

piratejulie
piratejulie  
12/23/2012 7:31:21 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Open data is the key
Kindly provide your thoughts about the project in California.   Particularly where statistical algorithms were used to make predictions of future traffic speeds and volumes from real-time traffic information.  I'm new to the state.  I'd like to avoid the traffic. Thank you.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/3/2012 9:51:54 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Open data
People need to see the benefits of open data demonstrated, I think, before they really understand the possibilities and can make judgments about potential risks. Many consumers don't know what Big Data is.

Rick Robinson
Rick Robinson  
12/2/2012 6:12:06 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Open data is the key
Hi everyone,

I do agree, it is absolutely crucial that we are able to make sense of the data that technology can make available. The projects I cited in the article are ones where we have managed to achieve that; but I certainly don't think we have all the answers yet.

There are many elements to this challenge - including the development of technology that can analyse and draw higher-level conclusions from data; the use of visualisation technology to communicate those insights; and the understanding of human behaviour and decision-making that's required to design those visualisations as effective communication tools, for example.

But perhaps more important than all of those is to continue to develop our understanding of data, and of the relationships between city systems. That's a challenge of education, psychology and research into the behaviour of cities as "systems as systems".

What makes me optimistic, though, is that I think we have started to make progress on all of those challenges, and can already see some of the benefits. That encourages and excites me that we should further explore these opportunities,

Cheers,

Rick

Simon Hersom
Simon Hersom  
12/1/2012 7:33:39 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Open data is the key
The more data you collect the more data you find you need to make sense of the data you have.

In the UK we have a congested and complex road system.  We also have a fast growing network of sensors which produce data on traffic movements.  My GPS receives traffic data and can suggest alternative routes when it's informed of a problem.  However I always also route plan the old fashioned way before setting off because I know my GPS is stupid.  It will routinely choose routes which I instantly reject because of the "not at this time of day" or even plain "what is it thinking?" reaction.  There are many data errors, and not just in Apple Maps for which there is no feedback mechanism.  A horse track near me is classified by Google as a metalled road: its OK on a dirt bike!

At the same time providing better information to drivers introduces another wobbly.  If too many drivers get to hear of the problem and re-route then the alternative becomes more congested than the original.  Perhaps when these systems start to learn our own behaviours and share they will get more useful.   

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/30/2012 9:10:12 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Open data is the key
Yes, I see the analytics component of this looming large. I agree, Slyvie, that the track record in this arena not being very successful yet. 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/30/2012 6:20:10 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Open data
I don't think we can look at all data in the same way. Data from road sensors is quite different than data acquired from home energy systems. Allowing data to be open can only be good for our ability to create more sustainable, efficient cities; but I do feel that technologists and city officials need to tread carefully and be mindful of the fact that not everyone wants his/her energy-use data shared unless it's properly "treated," as you say Mary.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/30/2012 1:58:45 PM
User Rank Staff
Open data
Lots of thought-provoking points here, Rick. For one thing, the concept of open data. As this applies to cities, it could  mean open records about anything from transport statistics to, as you point out, energy usage by individual homeowners. In some instances, there may be arguments about what data should be made open to the public and whether some data might be exposed but treated first to hide personally identifying information.

It seems you endorse as much openness as possible, Rick. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

SylvieBarak
SylvieBarak  
11/30/2012 1:28:27 PM
User Rank Blogger
Open data is the key
But so is being able to analyze that data and find the important useable nuggets. Big data is all well and good, but we're not proving especially good t properly crunching that data and making it work for us yet.

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