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Tag Archive: Commentary

How to Stop ‘Smart Cities’ From Becoming ‘Surveillance Cities’

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Urban officials dream of a future of “Smart Cities” that use new technologies to gather comprehensive data and algorithms to achieve increased efficiency, sustainability, and safety. While many of these benefits are real, we must be vigilant to ensure that they don’t come at too high a cost, as the adoption of such technologies can also lead to an unacceptable increase in government surveillance.

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Increase the social impact of open data with user personas

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Understanding who uses open data and how helps city staff share public information in ways that are most likely to result in social impact. At “Designing for Community Use," our workshop on the What Works Cities on Tour, we helped city officials brainstorm potential users of open data, develop personas, and then use those personas to design improvements to how city halls disclose information.

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How opening city data can support racial justice

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Cities collect, store, analyze and disclose many different kinds of government data that are critical to understanding and addressing social inequality and racial justice. Advocates for equity can and must do more to demand more transparency from local authorities by working with cities to open up, close information gaps in their communities, and end data poverty.

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