City data ecosystems between theory and practice: A qualitative exploratory study in seven European cities

Paper by Giovanni Liva, Marina Micheli, Sven Schade, Alexander Kotsev, Matteo Gori and Cristiano Codagnone: “The exponential growth of data collection opens possibilities for analyzing data to address political and societal challenges. Still, European cities are not utilizing the potential of data generated by its citizens, industries, academia, and public authorities for their public service mission. The reasons are complex and relate to an intertwined set of organizational, technological, and legal barriers, although good practices exist that could be scaled, sustained, and further developed. The article contributes to research on data-driven innovation in the public sector comparing high-level expectations on data ecosystems with actual practices of data sharing and innovation at the local and regional level. Our approach consists in triangulating the analysis of in-depth interviews with representatives of the local administrations with documents obtained from the cities. The interviews investigated the experiences and perspectives of local administrations regarding establishing a local or regional data ecosystem. The article examines experiences and obstacles to data sharing within seven administrations investigating what currently prevents the establishment of data ecosystems. The findings are summarized along three main lines. First, the limited involvement of private sector organizations as actors in local data ecosystems through emerging forms of data sharing. Second, the concern over technological aspects and the lack of attention on social or organizational issues. Third, a conceptual decision to apply a centralized and not a federated digital infrastructure…(More)”.