Building BOLD Cities

12 07 2017

BOLD Cities, the research center that the Universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam (Erasmus) so generously funded last year, is thriving. We have developed a research agenda that combines our different expertise and which is focused on using ‘big data’ for pressing urban social issues. In all our projects we have a data science aspect and a data ethics aspects, which mostly means that apart from crunching massive and different kinds of data about people, we also involve these people in the research process and integrate their concerns in our outcomes. A first set of projects that I am really proud of concerns the usage and linkage of registration, survey and social media data to improve the municipal services to vulnerable groups in the city, in particular people on benefits, young NEETs (not in education, employment or training) and the working poor. We have received funding for these projects from two national funding agencies (ZONMW, NWA/NWO)and from the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. A second set of projects is about the way people inhabit the digitized and datafied city. We focus on privacy as a situated and spatial experience in the city, and we also try to put data literacy and data empowerment on the agenda. We have taken several groups of civil servants on a walking tour through their city, and are currently developing a project aimed at children and adolescents. We do this in collaboration with grants and researchers of the city of Rotterdam, all channeled through the Knowledge Lab Urban Big Data.  Thirdly, we are developing work around the urban living labs hausse, interrogating both their practical and the discursive arrangements and questioning in which domains they can really make a difference for urban cohesion and inclusion. All in all, we currently have a group of 4 funded PhD candidates and 4 postdoctoral researchers in the Erasmus branch of BOLD Cities, and an increasing number of affiliated senior staff. It is a great score to start the summer break with.  For more details see: www.boldcities.nl

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