Seeing Cities Through Big Data: Research Methods and Applications in Urban Informatics

Thakuriah, P., Tilahun, N. and Zellner, M. (Eds.) (2017) Seeing Cities Through Big Data: Research Methods and Applications in Urban Informatics. Series: Springer geography. Springer: New York. ISBN 9783319409009

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Big Data is spawning new areas of research, new methods and tools, and new insights into urban science. This edited volume presents theoretical and empirical works around the opportunities and challenges of using Big Data for understanding urban patterns and dynamics. The volume is intended for researchers, educators, and students who are working in this relatively new area and outlines many of the considerations that research, applications, and education are likely to raise. Papers tackle myriad issues – some empirical showcases of the insights Big Data provides into urban issues, and others, theoretical considerations and case studies which highlight how Big Data can enrich our understanding of urban systems in a variety of contexts, and the considerations that are needed for making it achieve many of its promises. The chapters in this book are selected from papers presented in a two-day Big Data and Urban Informatics workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation and held at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014. The workshop brought together researchers, educators, practitioners and students representing a variety of academic disciplines including Urban Planning, Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Economics, Statistics, and Geography. It was a unique opportunity for urban social scientists and data scientists to exchange ideas in how Big Data is being used and can be used to address a variety of urban challenges. This edited volume draws from these various disciplines and seeks to address issues that are both urban and of interest to a wide set of disciplines. Issues in this volume cover eight broad categories which span challenges and opportunities of urban Big data, changing organizational perspectives, urban data management, and social equity in the context of Big Data, as well as empirical works which demonstrate uses of Big Data in urban knowledge discovery, analytics of user generated content, emergencies and crisis, and health and well being. This volume is intended to introduce and familiarize the reader to how Big Data is being used to address urban questions as well as to highlight different issues that need to be addressed to ensure urban Big Data can answer critical urban questions. Among other topics, papers address the complexities and institutional factors involved in use of Big Data, the educational needs for adopting emerging data sources into practice, the ability of Big Data to compliment survey data, equity considerations behind Big Data, as well as empirical applications that seek to address specific issues in energy, transportation, and environment. As the papers in this volume demonstrate, the potential of Big Data is immense. These areas include concerns of resource management and efficiency, learning about the urban, better measurement of urban factors, addressing emergencies and crisis, and for supporting and in some ways “fixing” traditional data products. At the same time, challenges arise from the way these data are produced, managed, released, and used. We have aimed for making the volume comprehensive by incorporating papers that address these topics, but no single volume can incorporate the broad range of applications using Big Data in urban contexts. We hope this collection proves an important starting point. We would like to acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation which funded the Big Data and Urban Informatics workshop, without which this volume would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago which provided additional support for the workshop. A number of people helped us in preparing this edited volume and in the events that led up to the workshop. A special thank you to Ms. Alison Macgregor who helped us organize and manage the review process and to Ms. Nina Savar whose efforts ensured a successful workshop. We are also indebted to all of the anonymous reviewers who took their time to provide useful feedback to the authors in this volume.

Item Type:Edited Books
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thakuriah, Professor Piyushimita
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Research Group:Urban Big Data Centre
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