Deadline 15 Apr 2020

Cities and territories in the era of big data

The amount of data generated by our daily activities and interactions is constantly increasing thanks to the growing number of equipment and devices to which these activities are connected. Such data constitute a "digital domain" that partially overlaps with real cities and territories and that can allow us to reconstruct and model an accurate vision of the spatial extent of social, material and immaterial interactions and the transformations of the built environment.

Deadline submissions: April 15, 2020

Guest editors: Fabio Lucchesi and Carlo Pisano

At the same time the new increasingly sophisticated ICTs, the spread of the use of artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing platforms, open-source software and the qualitative data generated by citizens, transform not only the understanding of cities and territories but also their perception and, in turn, they may condition the built environment. The social, ecological and economic issues at the center of the contemporary debate require horizons of meaning to which the new interpretive and operational tools refer, overcoming the simple benchmarking of quantitative and objectifying indicators and asking the question of adequate levels of legitimacy and responsibility in the production and use of data. The Big Data revolution, therefore, generates new possibilities and determines new issues also in the area of city and territory planning and the redefinition of its analysis and design tools. The impact of Big Data on the decision-making processes and how they can contribute to modifying the traditional apparatus of analytical and design tools in the sphere of spatial planning is still subject of analysis. This also refers to the definition of ways of viewing, managing and transforming efficiently and transparently the available data.

This issue of Contesti intends to explore how Big Data relates to the disciplines of urban studies and design. Are particular welcomed in this number contributions about:

  • Theoretical-methodological reflections on how Big Data transform the traditional planning and design process, modifying and strengthening tools and practices in urban and territorial studies as well as proposing new requirements and spatial characteristics;
  • Research on how to extract knowledge from Big Data, related for example to artificial intelligence (AI), its spatial representation and the use of this knowledge for the improvement of decision-making processes;
  • Reflections on ethical and democratic legitimacy issues “in the plan and in the project” related to data access and availability, data management and privacy, connected to Big Data and in particular in relation to methods of civic empowerment and promotion of active citizenship;
  • Contributions on practices and case studies in which Big Data represented an opportunity for innovation of the planning process at the urban and territorial level.

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