Following Data: Examining the role of big data in urban decision-making in Santiago de Chile

Authors: Ignacio Perez*, University of Oxford
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: Big data, ethnography, governance, smart city,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8222, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the last years, the concept of smart cities has been positioned widely on the global urban agenda through both discourses and practices. An important part of this agenda has been related to the introduction of data-intensive technologies such as big data, algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning into urban space. Yet, it is still unclear how data-intensive smart city projects are redefining the future of cities, as the pure fact of accumulating more detailed, granular and real-time data does not reveal if and how the resulting data is shaping urban decisions.

I am looking to analyse how data circulates in Santiago de Chile; observing how data influences decisions while creating new ways to understand cities. Accordingly, I am seeking to analyse how digital data circulates in Santiago in the context of governance reorganisation analysing how big data and institutional change shape each other producing new realities. This will require that I will interrogate which methods are the most effective in order to follow ‘data circulations’ in cities going beyond the usual quantitative-qualitative divisions but critically analysing how methods are also shaping reality when describing it.

Therefore, I will be following data through different “sites of practice” (data production, storage, processing, visualisation distribution and use). Additionally, I will critically analyse how cities dialogue and learn through smart policy circulations. In doing so, I will reflect on how Santiago’s smart city agenda is being shaped by data and policy circulations and how these elements are redefined in moments of institutional uncertainty

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