Around the world, a lot of cities seek to harness data to make themselves cleaner, safer, more efficient places. To this end,
they use digital tools that process data, but also, to an increasing degree, generate it. They collect and analyse this data in their search for solutions to a growing number of problems, social and otherwise. But things sometimes go wrong with the monitoring and interpretation of data. Furthermore, issues like loneliness and social cohesion aren’t easy to capture in data form. So the first
step in building a smarter society isn’t to collect even more data
or develop newer, better technology. Building a smarter society begins with identifying and understanding the demands and needs that are relevant for that society. We placed this task at the heart of the DATAstudio’s programme when we formulated it in 2015. How could we identify desires and changes in society, and how could data add value to the process? Was it possible to increase citizens’ awareness about how data is used? To what extent could we incite government and other parties to increase transparency for citizens with respect to how they use data? And what new design questions would arise? The programme concluded with a digital publication featuring essays by Dan Hill, Anab Jain, Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Ekim Tan and Linda Vlassenrood (ed.) that situate the work of DATAstudio in a broader context.