The first University of Chicago Convening on Urban Data Science, organized by the CI’s Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) and the UChicago Urban and sponsored by the Harris School for Public Policy, reflected this early stage of growth. There was ample enthusiasm about early projects using analytics, sensing, mapping, and both public and private data sources. There was excitement about the future and new collaborations formed across countries, disciplines, and public/private/academic spheres. But there were also passionate discussions about the ethical and moral implications of urban data science, an important reflection for a fast-growing field with the goal of improving policy and people’s lives.
At the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia next month, representatives from cities around the globe will gather to exchange ideas under the theme of “Urban Equity in Development -- Cities for Life.” To help kick off that event, the University of Chicago with the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Sister Cities International, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development organized a pre-session dialogue in downtown Chicago called “The Informed City: Data Driven Approaches to a More Just, Equitable and Sustainable City.” More than 130 representatives from the public, private, philanthropic, academic and civic sectors attended the event, and an additional 350 people watched via live webcast on Tuesday, March 4.
On November 20th, representatives of those fields gathered onstage for Chicago: City of Big Data, a UChicago Discovery Series panel discussion of research and educational efforts focused on transforming cities through data and computation. In a vibrant 90-minute conversation moderated by Charlie Catlett, director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), the panelists described work underway at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and outlined their visions for the future of data-driven urban design and governance.