New Forms of Urban Data and their Potential for Municipal Decision Making

Arya, Chhavi and Müller, Nina and Pallagst, Karina and Berchtold, Martin (2022) New Forms of Urban Data and their Potential for Municipal Decision Making. Mobility, Knowledge and Innovation Hubs in Urban and Regional Development. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2022, 27th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 525-532. ISSN 2521-3938

[img] Text (New Forms of Urban Data and their Potential for Municipal Decision Making)
CORP2022_47.pdf - Published Version

Download (147kB)
Official URL:


In recent years, cities have been exposed to many disruptive influences. Among them is the digital revolution, which has also begun to transform urban space via the economy and society. The now ubiquitous and continuous connectivity has reached a large part of humanity, thanks to the mass distribution of smartphones, free Wi-Fi networks and the resulting access to information, social networks and audio-visual entertainment [1]. Digitalisation took on a particular importance in the context of pandemic-related impacts. The need for digital connectivity increased, especially in the fight against COVID-19, as city governments around the globe used contact tracking (Bluetooth proximity data) from smartphones to detect infection contacts and reduce infection rates. The resulting form of urban data is new to municipal use and points to the hidden potential of other forms of data. Through the use of today's technologies, municipalities can collect their own data in many areas, generating a new understanding of complex urban dynamics aiding spatial decision-making with higher transparency [2]. Disruptive influences, uncertainty, crises and climate catastrophes require a more evidence-based and a bottom-up spatial planning process. In regard to solving more complex problems and increasing the speed and agility required by the city administrations, it is important to investigate how new data forms can affect spatial planning decisions. The German planning system referred to in the paper (section 2) is very hierarchically organised, as are its processes. Local, fast-moving and contextual data collection could counteract the inertia of the planning system. In general, the use of data to understand urban systems is not a new phenomenon, but nevertheless necessary. The increasing complexity and constant change of cities now requires the use of more real-time and comprehensive data sets to complement censuses and surveys [3]. The temporal limitations of the latter seem only suitable for representing static or semi-static urban phenomena, as they do not take into account the subtleties of urban dynamics or the impact of real-time activities on various urban systems and the daily lives of citizens [4]. At the same time, improving the quality of life of the inhabitants is the ultimate goal of a city. While urban planning has an impact on the quality of life in cities, the citizens too have an important role in developing a city. It is thus essential to consider them in the decision making process. But which data forms and sources are capable of meeting these challenges and what new information and opportunities do they offer? Specifically in regard to the German planning system which follows a bureaucratic approach of decision -making, it is important to find out the planning decisions which can be supplemented with new data forms at the municipal level. In this regard, the paper targets urban datasets that can add significant value to municipal decision-making processes and spatial development strategies (section 3). The paper focusses on examining the emerging datasets and their application in spatial planning. For this purpose, an overview of the data landscape is shown (section 4), which highlights the new data forms (Figure 1). Qualitative literature analysis was used to investigate municipal decision-making and spatial planning decision-making processes in Germany. Drawing on the results, a SWOT-analysis will be used to display the potentials and limitations of new forms of urban data for spatial development (section 5). The conclusion (section 6) highlights this potential for municipal decision making.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: German Planning System, Urban Analytics, Urban Data Sources, Spatial-Planning Decisions Processes, New Data Forms
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: The CORP Team
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 13:25
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022 14:21

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item