The Use of Artificial Intelligence as a Strategy to Analyse Urban Informality

Article by Agustina Iñiguez: “Within the Latin American and Caribbean region, it has been recorded that at least 25% of the population lives in informal settlements. Given that their expansion is one of the major problems afflicting these cities, a project is presented, supported by the IDB, which proposes how new technologies are capable of contributing to the identification and detection of these areas in order to intervene in them and help reduce urban informality.

Informal settlements, also known as slums, shantytowns, camps or favelas, depending on the country in question, are uncontrolled settlements on land where, in many cases, the conditions for a dignified life are not in place. Through self-built dwellings, these sites are generally the result of the continuous growth of the housing deficit.

For decades, the possibility of collecting information about the Earth’s surface through satellite imagery has been contributing to the analysis and production of increasingly accurate and useful maps for urban planning. In this way, not only the growth of cities can be seen, but also the speed at which they are growing and the characteristics of their buildings.

Advances in artificial intelligence facilitate the processing of a large amount of information. When a satellite or aerial image is taken of a neighbourhood where a municipal team has previously demarcated informal areas, the image is processed by an algorithm that will identify the characteristic visual patterns of the area observed from space. The algorithm will then identify other areas with similar characteristics in other images, automatically recognising the districts where informality predominates. It is worth noting that while satellites are able to report both where and how informal settlements are growing, specialised equipment and processing infrastructure are also required…(More)”

Eight reasons responsible data for and about children matters

Article by Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young: “…The relationship between the datafication of everyday life and child welfare has generally been under-explored, both by researchers in data ethics and those who work to advance the rights of children. This neglect is a lost opportunity, and also poses a risk to children, who are in many ways at the forefront of the steady incursions of data into our lives. In what follows, over a series of two articles, we outline eight reasons why child welfare advocates should pay more attention to data, and why we need a framework for responsible data collection and use for children….(Part 1) and (Part2). (See also Responsible Data for Children).

A new data deal: the case of Barcelona

Paper by Fernando Monge, Sarah Barns, Rainer Kattel and Francesca Bria: “Cities today are key sites for the operation of global digital marketplaces. It is at the curbsides and the intersections of cities where global digital platforms gain access to valuable urban data to be used in the delivery of data-driven urban services. Signalling an emerging role for city governments in contributing to regulatory responses to global digital platforms, a number of cities have in recent years tested their capacity to reclaim the urban data that is ‘harvested’ and monetised by digital platforms for improved local governance and participation. Focusing on the City of Barcelona, this paper investigates the conditions that enabled Barcelona to pivot from its strong focus on attracting commercial platforms under the rubric of smart city programs, to becoming one of the leading advocates of a citizen-first data rights and data sovereignty agenda. Through a series of interviews with key participants involved in the design and implementation of Barcelona’s data sovereignty program under Mayor Ada Colau, the paper examines the policy and governance instruments deployed by the city to regain access and control over data and discusses the challenges and tensions it faced during the implementation phases of the program. Finally, the paper presents the main lessons of the Barcelona experience for other cities, including a reflection on the role that cities can play in shaping a global agenda around improved data governance….(More)”.

Advancing Digital Agency: The Power of Data Intermediaries

World Economic Forum Report: “With the integration of screenless technology into everyday life, the data ecosystem is growing increasingly complicated. New ambient data collection methods bring many benefits, but they also have the potential to amplify mistrust between people and technology.

In this Insight Report, the World Economic Forum’s Taskforce on Data Intermediaries explores the potential to outsource human decision points to an agent acting on an individual’s behalf, in the form of a data intermediary.

The opportunities and risks of such a new approach are explored, representing one of many new policy anchors through and around which individuals may navigate new data ecosystem models. Levers of action for both the public and private sectors are suggested to ensure a future-proof digital policy environment that allows for the seamless and trusted movement of data between people and the technology that serves them…(More)”.

Shared Measures: Collective Performance Data Use in Collaborations

Paper by Alexander Kroll: “Traditionally, performance metrics and data have been used to hold organizations accountable. But public service provision is not merely hierarchical anymore. Increasingly, we see partnerships among government agencies, private or nonprofit organizations, and civil society groups. Such collaborations may also use goals, measures, and data to manage group efforts, however, the application of performance practices here will likely follow a different logic. This Element introduces the concepts of “shared measures” and “collective data use” to add collaborative, relational elements to existing performance management theory. It draws on a case study of collaboratives in North Carolina that were established to develop community responses to the opioid epidemic. To explain the use of shared performance measures and data within these collaboratives, this Element studies the role of factors such as group composition, participatory structures, social relationships, distributed leadership, group culture, and value congruence…(More)”.

Public bodies’ access to private sector data: The perspectives of twelve European local administrations

Article by Marina Micheli: “Public bodies’ access to private sector data of public interest (also referred to as business-to-government (B2G) data sharing) is still an emerging and sporadic practice. The article discusses the findings of a qualitative research that examined B2G data sharing in European local administrations. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with managers and project leaders of twelve municipalities, the study contextualizes access to private sector data in the perspectives of those working in the field. The findings examine the four operational models to access data that featured more prominently in the interviews: data donorship, public procurement of data, data partnerships and pools, and data sharing obligations. The analysis highlights the power unbalances embedded in B2G data sharing as perceived by representatives of local administrations. In particular, the findings address the gap between municipalities in the opportunities to access private sector data of public interest, the lack of negotiating power of local administrations vis-à-vis private sector data holders and the strategies envisioned to foster more inclusive forms of data governance…(More)”.

Data Federalism

Article by Bridget A. Fahey: “Private markets for individual data have received significant and sustained attention in recent years. But data markets are not for the private sector alone. In the public sector, the federal government, states, and cities gather data no less intimate and on a scale no less profound. And our governments have realized what corporations have: It is often easier to obtain data about their constituents from one another than to collect it directly. As in the private sector, these exchanges have multiplied the data available to every level of government for a wide range of purposes, complicated data governance, and created a new source of power, leverage, and currency between governments.

This Article provides an account of this vast and rapidly expanding intergovernmental marketplace in individual data. In areas ranging from policing and national security to immigration and public benefits to election management and public health, our governments exchange data both by engaging in individual transactions and by establishing “data pools” to aggregate the information they each have and diffuse access across governments. Understanding the breadth of this distinctly modern practice of data federalism has descriptive, doctrinal, and normative implications.

In contrast to conventional cooperative federalism programs, Congress has largely declined to structure and regulate intergovernmental data exchange. And in Congress’s absence, our governments have developed unorthodox cross-governmental administrative institutions to manage data flows and oversee data pools, and these sprawling, unwieldy institutions are as important as the usual cooperative initiatives to which federalism scholarship typically attends.

Data exchanges can also go wrong, and courts are not prepared to navigate the ways that data is both at risk of being commandeered and ripe for use as coercive leverage. I argue that these constitutional doctrines can and should be adapted to police the exchange of data. I finally place data federalism in normative frame and argue that data is a form of governmental power so unlike the paradigmatic ones our federalism is believed to distribute that it has the potential to unsettle federalism in both function and theory…(More)”.

Japan to pitch data-sharing framework to bolster Asia supply chains

Nikkei coverage: “The Japanese government is set to propose a scheme to promote data-sharing among companies in Asia to strengthen supply chains in the region, Nikkei has learned.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hopes that a secure data-sharing framework like the one developed in Europe will enable companies in Asia to smoothly exchange data, such as inventory information on products and parts, as well as information on potential disruptions in procurement.

The ministry will propose the idea as a key part of Japan’s digital trade policy at an expert panel meeting on Friday. The meeting will propose a major review of industrial policy to emphasize digitization and a decarbonized economy.

It sees Europe’s efforts as a role model in terms of information-sharing. The European Union is building a data distribution infrastructure, Gaia-X, to let companies in the region share information on supply chains.

The goal is to counter the monopoly on data held by large technology companies in the U.S. and China. The EU is promoting the sharing of data by connecting different cloud services among companies. Under Gaia, companies can limit the scope of data disclosure and the use of data provided to others, based on the concept of data sovereignty.

The scheme envisioned by METI will also allow companies to decide what type of data they share and how much. The infrastructure will be developed on a regional basis, with the participation of various countries.

Google and China’s Alibaba Group Holding offer data-sharing services for supply chain, but the Japanese government is concerned that it will be difficult to protect Japanese companies’ industrial secrets unless it develops its own data infrastructure….(More)”

Financing Models for Digital Ecosystems

Paper by Rahul Matthan, Prakhar Misra and Harshita Agrawal: “This paper explores various financing models for the digital ecosystem within the Indian setup. It uses the market/non-market failure distinction and applies it to different parts of the ecosystem, outlined in the Open Digital Ecosystems framework. It identifies which form of financing — public, private and philanthropic — is suitable for the relevant component of the digital world — data registries, exchanges, open stacks, marketplaces, co-creation platforms, and information access portals. Finally, it treats philanthropic financing as a special case of financing mechanisms available and analyses their pros and cons in the Indian digital ecosystem…(More)”.

Data Innovation in Demography, Migration and Human Mobility

Report by Bosco, C., Grubanov-Boskovic, S., Iacus, S., Minora, U., Sermi, F. and Spyratos, S.: “With the consolidation of the culture of evidence-based policymaking, the availability of data has become central for policymakers. Nowadays, innovative data sources have offered opportunity to describe more accurately demographic, mobility- and migration- related phenomena by making available large volumes of real-time and spatially detailed data. At the same time, however, data innovation has brought up new challenges (ethics, privacy, data governance models, data quality) for citizens, statistical offices, policymakers and the private sector.

Focusing on the fields of demography, mobility and migration studies, the aim of this report is to assess the current state of utilisation of data innovation in the scientific literature as well as to identify areas in which data innovation has the most concrete potential for policymaking. For that purpose, this study has reviewed more than 300 articles and scientific reports, as well as numerous tools, that employed non-traditional data sources for demographic, human mobility or migration research.The specific findings of our report contribute to a discussion on a) how innovative data is used in respect to traditional data sources; b) domains in which innovative data have the highest potential to contribute to policymaking; c) prospects for an innovative data transition towards systematic contribution to official statistics and policymaking…(More)”. See also Big Data for Migration Alliance.