Open Data City
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Prof. Andreas Quednau
Benedikt Stoll
Lehrstuhl Städtebauliches Entwerfen

„Smart City“ urban deve­lo­p­ment concepts are criti­cised by many acade­mics because of the market-oriented poli­cies asso­ciated with them. In the spirit of Saskia Sassen’s „Open Source Urba­nism“, they call for Big Data to be made publicly avail­able. The Open Data Stra­tegy of the EU Commis­sion (2011) can be seen as a reac­tion to the data mono­poly of global players like Google, Face­book & Co: According to this stra­tegy, cities should make their data acces­sible and usable for ever­yone. If data is the gold of the 21st century, the role of plan­ners and archi­tects in the use of geodata must also be ques­tioned in order to develop cities sustainably in the future instead of pursuing tech­no­cratic approa­ches that ignore their poli­tical, economic and social implications.

„#FOLLOW ME: Open Data City“ addresses the ques­tion of the respon­si­bi­lity of plan­ners and archi­tects in rela­tion to Open Data. The seminar will develop specu­la­tive scen­a­rios in which, on the one hand, publicly acces­sible data and, on the other hand, self-collected (geo)data are used as the basis for future urban deve­lo­p­ment. The star­ting point is the mapping of one’s own digital foot­print within a month, which is traced with the help of Google Loca­tion History (Google Maps), a loca­tion of finan­cial expen­dit­ures (Revolut credit card) and a health tracker (Well­tory) – i.e. all apps and „smart“ devices that record (geo)data – true to Strava’s motto „Track and analyse every aspect of your acti­vity“. The visua­li­sa­tion of mobi­lity and acti­vity profiles should not only help to a better under­stan­ding of your own digital foot­print, but also to under­stand its envi­ron­mental and beha­vioural conse­quences. Based on this, the seminar will specu­late about the possi­bi­li­ties for „user-specific“ urban deve­lo­p­ment and how these data can be used for a more sustainable plan­ning practice.

Google & Co can access our dynamic acti­vity profiles (abso­lutely) without restric­tion in order to gene­rate customer-specific adver­ti­sing content and exor­bi­tant profits. What would happen if cities also had access to this (geo)data in order to carry out citizen-specific urban deve­lo­p­ment? The core thesis of the seminar #FOLLOW ME: Open Data City states that in the long run, city plan­ners and city admi­nis­tra­tions lose their core compe­tence to global corpo­ra­tions, which influ­ence our „user beha­viour“ more than urban infra­st­ruc­tures. There­fore, it is necessary to inves­ti­gate whether it is only by provi­ding OPEN DATA and its colla­bo­ra­tive analysis and explo­ita­tion with public welfare oriented bodies that it is still possible to develop cities sustainably.

Selected results of the seminar will be presented at the MAPPING FOR CHANGE Sympo­sium in Berlin on 16–18 January 2020. In addi­tion, the seminar will be distri­buted as part of the project „Young profes­sio­nals design the future: Border­line City“. This will enable 3 selected students to parti­ci­pate in a fully funded summer school from 08–15 May 20 in Berlin.