Data Science and Cities: A Critical Approach

Fábio Duarte and Priyanka deSouza


Sensors increasingly permeate our lives and generate a plethora of data, which has transformed the way we live in cities. Planners have been using data-science to improve our understanding of urban issues. While other domains have highlighted concerns with big data collection, aggregation, and analytical methods to understand different phenomena, urban planning has an additional aspiration: not only to understand, but to transform society through planning. Thus, on top of critically approaching data collection and analytical methods, for the emergent field of urban science to become a distinctively unique body of knowledge, it must examine the ontological and epistemological boundaries of the big data paradigm and how it affects urban decision-making processes and their short- and long-term consequences in cities.