The role of data in transformations to sustainability: a critical research agenda

Porto de Albuquerque, J. et al. (2021) The role of data in transformations to sustainability: a critical research agenda. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 49, pp. 153-163. (doi: 10.1016/j.cosust.2021.06.009)

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This article investigates the role of digital technologies and data innovations, such as big data and citizen-generated data, to enable transformations to sustainability. We reviewed recent literature in this area and identified that the most prevailing assumption of work is related to the capacity of data to inform decision-making and support transformations. However, there is a lack of critical investigation on the concrete pathways for this to happen. We present a framework that identifies scales and potential pathways on how data generation, circulation and usage can enable transformations to sustainability. This framework expands the perspective on the role and functions of data, and it is used to outline a critical research agenda for future work that fully considers the socio-cultural contexts and practices through which data may effectively support transformative pathways to sustainable development.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This article is part of the project Waterproofing Data that is financially supported by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability (, which is co-funded by DLR/BMBF, ESRC/GCRF (ES/S006982/1), FAPESP (process n. 18/50039-4) and the European Commission through Horizon 2020. Fernanda Lima Silva and Mario Henrique da Mata Martins acknowledge support from the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (FAPESP) for their postdoctoral fellowships (project numbers 2019/06616-0 and 2019/06595-2). Lívia Castro Degrossi acknowledges the funding by the UK Research and Innovation through the GCRF Global Research Translation Award (EPSRC grant: EP/T015683/1).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Porto de Albuquerque, Professor Joao
Authors: Porto de Albuquerque, J., Anderson, L., Calvillo, N., Coaffee, J., Cunha, M. A., Degrossi, L. C., Dolif, G., Horita, F., Klonner, C., Lima-Silva, F., Marchezini, V., da Mata Martins, M. H., Pajarito-Grajales, D., Pitidis, V., Rudorff, C., Tkacz, N., Traijber, R., and Zipf, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
ISSN (Online):1877-3443
Published Online:24 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 49: 153-163
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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