The Praxis and Politics of Building Urban Dashboards. Programmable City Working Paper 11


Kitchin, Rob and Maalsen, Sophia and McArdle, Gavin (2015) The Praxis and Politics of Building Urban Dashboards. Programmable City Working Paper 11. Working Paper. Programmable City Working Paper, Maynooth University.

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Abstract

This paper critically reflects on the building of the Dublin Dashboard -- a website that provides citizens, planners, policy makers and companies with an extensive set of data and interactive visualizations about Dublin City, including real-time information -- from the perspective of critical data studies. The analysis draws upon participant observation, ethnography, and an archive of correspondence, to unpack the building of the Dashboard and the emergent politics of data and design. Our findings reveal four main observations. First, a dashboard is a complex socio-technical assemblage of actors and actants that work materially and discursively within a set of social and economic constraints, existing technologies and systems, and power geometries to assemble, produce and maintain the website. Second, the production and maintenance of a dashboard unfolds contextually, contingently and relationally through transduction. Third, the praxis and politics of creating a dashboard has wider recursive effects: just as building the dashboard was shaped by the wider institutional landscape, producing the system inflected that landscape. Fourth, the data, configuration, tools, and modes of presentation of a dashboard produce a particularised set of spatial knowledges about the city. We conclude that rather than frame dashboard development in purely technical terms, it is important to openly recognize their contested and negotiated politics and praxis.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Keywords: assemblage; dashboard; data; Dublin; politics; smart city;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > National Centre for Geocomputation, NCG
Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
Item ID: 7238
Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2016 11:19
Publisher: Programmable City Working Paper
Refereed: Yes
Funders: European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award
URI:

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