Working paper 2: Your neighbourhood, your data

Working paper 2 - Your neighbourhood, your data


What do citizens know about the so-called ‘smart city’ and the data technologies that are part of it? What are their privacy concerns? How do they handle their personal data? And which lessons should smart cities developers and officials draw from this? During the past year, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD (Big, Open & Linked Data) Cities has studied these questions extensively, in collaboration with the Knowledge Lab on Urban Big Data in Rotterdam.

We developed a survey in the form of an online game. In this game, people take a virtual walk through a smart city. At several locations they have to to answer a question or carry out an assignment. At an event a security guard will ask you, for instance, whether he may scan your identity document for security reasons; at another location, you can get a discount when you fill in your email address. Thus, we ask in various ways if people in the smart city are willing to share their personal data for security goals, for financial gain, for convenience or for social reasons.  At two locations in our smart city, we have made a puzzle that challenges the players to identify and click on techniques and sites for data collection, the so-called ‘data points’. The game thus gives us an idea about existing knowledge (what do people know?) and behaviour (what do people share?).

About the authors

Liesbet van Zoonen is professor of Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is science director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities, and co-founder of the Knowledge Workshop on Urban Big Data in Rotterdam. She also leads the programme line Digital Cities and Communities in the VSNU's Digital Society research programme.

Emiel Rijshouwer is industrial designer and urban sociologist. He works as a researcher for Erasmus University Rotterdam and the municipality of Rotterdam on a project about ‘data empowerment’ in public space. He received his doctorate with a thesis on the evolution of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Els Leclercq is city planner and works as a research fellow for the TU Delft and the AMS Institute. She studies new organizational structures for urban processes. Els received her doctorate with a thesis on the privatization of public space.

Luuk Schokker works as programme coordinator for the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities. In this role, he sets up and coordinates research projects and (public) activities.

Fadi Hirzalla is assistant professor at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. His research focuses on the question how digital media and technology influence citizenship. He is coordinator of the Rotterdam Knowledge Lab Urban Big Data.

Sarah Giest is assistant professor at Leiden University. Her research focuses on the analysis of policy instruments and the capacity for innovation, technology and sustainability, for instance during the use of big data for urban policy.