Event Report: Interdisciplinary Data Resources to Address the Challenges of Urban Living

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On the 4th and 5th of April, 2016, the Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC), University of Glasgow hosted an EPSRC-funded 1.5 day workshop to explore the methodological challenges and innovations in urban data and to introduce UBDC’s exciting integrated Multimedia City Data (iMCD) project. 

The workshop, entitled ‘Interdisciplinary Data Resources to Address the Challenges of Urban Living’, was attended by a group of nearly fifty individuals, comprising academics involved in collecting these novel sources of urban data, as well as methodological researchers, and public and private sector representatives of end-users. The event was arranged into a number of distinct sessions in order to introduce and highlight the wide variety of applications and ongoing work relating to urban data and to stimulate discussion on subjects including end use, interdisciplinary collaboration and issues of privacy and ethics. 

The workshop's aims and objectives were:  

  • To bring together an interdisciplinary mix of experience from academia, industry and the public sector to discuss perspectives on our overarching themes.
  • To support network building and knowledge exchange between stakeholders.
  • To roadmap the future of big/complex data in the urban environment and disseminate these discussions in a position paper. 

The morning of the first day served as an overview of urban data and the emerging role of big data in a variety of fields of research, with presentations from a range of invited speakers. The opportunity was then provided for all attendees to introduce themselves, voice their interest in urban data and what they hoped to achieve throughout the course of the workshop. A panel discussion followed in the afternoon, allowing a selection of people from private and public sector positions to consider how innovations in research into city data could benefit aspects of city planning, policy making and business improvement.

The final activity of the day saw the attendees forming small groups in a breakout session to each discuss data applications and practices within the context of a certain theme. The second day commenced with short presentations from a member of each of the first day’s breakout groups, which fed into a subsequent discussion amongst a panel representing the Scottish Government and several world-leading academic institutions. The workshop concluded with a summary of its outcomes, the big questions that emerged and how they could be developed to form papers for publishing in an appropriate journal.

The workshop facilitated numerous networking opportunities during its course through collaborative exercises, coffee and lunch breaks and a group dinner on the evening of the first day. Furthermore, there was on-going commentary on Twitter throughout the event using the hashtag ‘#UBDCUrbanliving’ to chronicle the days’ proceedings and encourage engagement with interested outside parties, which can be viewed on the #UBDCUrbanLiving Storify. A selection of workshop images can also be viewed below.

The full Workshop Report is available here: UBDC Urban Living Workshop Narrative Report (PDF 270 KB)

We were very pleased to host this forum with members of the public and look forward to producing related events in the future. If you have suggestions on topics to be covered, please email ubdc@glasgow.ac.uk  

 

Author: Mr Keith Maynard

Keith is the Project Administrator for the UBDC Urban Living Workshop.

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