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Civic Media Insights: Burcu Baykurt, “The City as Data Machine: Local Governance in the Age of Big Data”
Friday, February 26, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Live on Zoom: https://mit.zoom.us/j/99693116799
Beginning in 2015, city officials and civic leaders in Kansas City, Missouri partnered with Google, Cisco, and Sprint to design a smart city. This talk explains what happened next. Smart city enthusiasts predicted that a data-driven city could narrow the stark class and racial divides. In practice, city officials and civic entrepreneurs used big data to hunt for new problems or discover connections they did not know existed rather than working on extant issues. In so doing, they ignored the needs of already-vulnerable groups, downplayed their legitimate concerns about automated surveillance, and neglected the “data deserts” that they had created.
The talk will conclude by raising some larger issues about remaking cities using the techniques of data capitalism and attempts to build a model smart city to be replicated internationally.
Burcu Baykurt is an assistant professor of urban futures and communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.