Lehrstuhl Städtebauliches Entwerfen
“Smart City” urban development concepts are criticised by many academics because of the market-oriented policies associated with them. In the spirit of Saskia Sassen’s “Open Source Urbanism”, they call for Big Data to be made publicly available. The Open Data Strategy of the EU Commission (2011) can be seen as a reaction to the data monopoly of global players like Google, Facebook & Co: According to this strategy, cities should make their data accessible and usable for everyone. If data is the gold of the 21st century, the role of planners and architects in the use of geodata must also be questioned in order to develop cities sustainably in the future instead of pursuing technocratic approaches that ignore their political, economic and social implications.
“#FOLLOW ME: Open Data City” addresses the question of the responsibility of planners and architects in relation to Open Data. The seminar will develop speculative scenarios in which, on the one hand, publicly accessible data and, on the other hand, self-collected (geo)data are used as the basis for future urban development. The starting point is the mapping of one’s own digital footprint within a month, which is traced with the help of Google Location History (Google Maps), a location of financial expenditures (Revolut credit card) and a health tracker (Welltory) — i.e. all apps and “smart” devices that record (geo)data — true to Strava’s motto “Track and analyse every aspect of your activity”. The visualisation of mobility and activity profiles should not only help to a better understanding of your own digital footprint, but also to understand its environmental and behavioural consequences. Based on this, the seminar will speculate about the possibilities for “user-specific” urban development and how these data can be used for a more sustainable planning practice.
Google & Co can access our dynamic activity profiles (absolutely) without restriction in order to generate customer-specific advertising content and exorbitant profits. What would happen if cities also had access to this (geo)data in order to carry out citizen-specific urban development? The core thesis of the seminar #FOLLOW ME: Open Data City states that in the long run, city planners and city administrations lose their core competence to global corporations, which influence our “user behaviour” more than urban infrastructures. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate whether it is only by providing OPEN DATA and its collaborative analysis and exploitation with public welfare oriented bodies that it is still possible to develop cities sustainably.
Selected results of the seminar will be presented at the MAPPING FOR CHANGE Symposium in Berlin on 16–18 January 2020. In addition, the seminar will be distributed as part of the project “Young professionals design the future: Borderline City”. This will enable 3 selected students to participate in a fully funded summer school from 08–15 May 20 in Berlin.