Is data ‘just’ data or is it political? And when is using data in area development useful and when would it be better to just have a walk through the city and look around? In the podcast ‘Gebiedsontwikkeling voor alle leeftijden’ (Area development for all ages) a senior and a junior from the field talk about the role of data and technology in area development. In this podcast, academic director of the Centre for BOLD Cities, Prof. dr. Liesbet van Zoonen – the senior, talks to Walter Bokern (Chief Information Officer at Springco) – the junior, about these topics.
The role of data and technology
Inge Janse, deputy editor-in-chief of Gebiedsontwikkleing.nu and maker of this podcast, asks both guests how they see the role of data in area development. Is it useful or should we be more critical on the growing prominent role of data and technology in this field? According to Walter, the answer to this question is not black or white. The options are not either using a digital twin and developing area’s based on what data shows or not using data at all. It is the area in between these two options, that is interesting and that he believes to be valuable. Currently cities and companies tend to measure things as much as possible and only after that deciding what the data can be used for, in stead of doing this the other way around. It would be better to first decide what we want to know and what is relevant and then to decide what the best way to retrieve that information is, whether this is using data and technology or doing it in another way.
Data is a way of looking at the world, it is not the world.