Editorial

Do cities have the private sector data they need to make effective decisions?

The Open Data Institute’s research and development project wants to find the answer

Posted 29 July 2019 by

The Open Data Institute (ODI) has launched a probe into just how much private sector data urban planners are getting as inputs into fully data-driven forecasting.

Part of the body’s R&D work into helping UK cities become more open, the project seeks specific answers to the following questions, the body said last week:

‘Canterbury Map’ by Marc Hagen on Flickr
  • Do cities have access to data held by private sector organisations that operate within them?
  • How do cities access data held by private sector organisations that operate within them?
  • For what purposes do cities access data held by private sector organisations that operate within them?
  • Why do private sector organisations make data available to the cities they operate in?
  • What are the challenges to cities accessing data held by private sector organisations that operate with them?

“As our economies and societies become more reliant on data to make effective decisions, cities also have a responsibility to build and maintain data infrastructure that supports their citizens’ needs, values and priorities,” the announcement states.

“Increasingly, cities are seeking access to data collected by private sector organisations to help understand and tackle the different challenges they face,” it adds, pointing out that, “Among businesses, there are varying levels of receptiveness to cities’ advances for access to data.”

There are exceptions, like how Waze shares traffic data with London city managers for congestion management, but the researchers would like to see more examples and understand what may be holding all this back.

If you’d like to input your opinion or evidence into what sounds like prime-pumping of some great smart city projects, go here.