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Big Data in the City

Bannister, Jonathan and O'Sullivan, Anthony (2021) Big Data in the City. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies. ISSN 0042-0980 (In Press)

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Abstract

This editorial introduces a Special Issue on Big Data in the City. Collectively, six research articles and two commentaries explore the roles Big Data can and might play in enhancing our understanding of urban processes and the qualities of urban outcomes. Big Data may be intrinsically considered a neutral technology but, refracted through existing power structures and resource distributions, its application within cities is by no means guaranteed always to help in the amelioration of social injustices or in the promotion of urban wellbeing. In application, Big Data becomes a performative technology that can, is, and will be further used in the creation and regulation of the cities of this century, a process that will be messy and of mixed consequence. The task for urban studies research is to shape that performativity, and to challenge any tendency that emerges to the further entrenchment of social inequities. In pursuit of these aims, and sensitively deployed, Big Data can be cast as part of the route map to better urban futures.

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