FEATURE26 February 2020

Centre of the data map

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Data analytics Europe Features Impact Trends UK

Open and crowdsourced data is improving our cities, but there is a balance to be struck between collective benefit and individual rights. By Katie McQuater


Data now underpins almost every industry and aspect of society, and nowhere is this more apparent than our cities, which are at the forefront of innovation.

Overpopulation and inequality are creating challenges for cities, but data can build a comprehensive jigsaw of our urban life, aiding decision-making on everything from safety to transport to design – making cities better places to live.

While the new data economy raises vital questions over privacy and data ownership, there is a value exchange to be found, with new applications of technology improving our common environment and public participation.

Safer streets

Social media raised awareness of violence against women in recent years, while the #MeToo movement kickstarted a global conversation about harassment and safety.

Several apps have been launched to tackle the issue in urban spaces, using data to amplify people’s experiences and highlight crime blackspots – informing decisions at both an ...