GGRA03: Lecture 8 - Data - Social Media, Big Data, and ‘Smart City’ Environments. March
Lecture 8 Questions:
1. How does technology mediate our experiences of ‘public’ space.
2. How is technology transforming our knowledge about cities and the people in them?
Lecture 8 Outline:
● ‘Public’ and ‘private’ environments in cities.
● Mobile technology and urban space.
● Digital space and digital infrastructure.
● The ‘Smart city’ revolution.
● Big data and the city.
● Who owns your data and when are you the product?
Key Term #1 & #2 - Public and Private Spaces:
● Public spaces: tend to be ‘shared’ spaces that exist outside the domestic sphere that
anyone can access and occupy, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.
● Private spaces: are understood as places of property and family.
Key Term #2 - Smart City:
● A smart city: refer to an urban development vision that uses the implementation of
digital technologies to enhance the way that cities work, to increase the wellbeing of
urban residents and to save resources and money by making the city work more
● It involves implementing a variety of networked information technologies to improve city
services ranging from public transit to water and sewer services in order to enhance
residences’ use of the urban environment.
● Some examples of smart city infrastructure include:
○ Data sensors on streetlamps to measure road conditions and weather, which can
be used to alert individual residents of the conditions on their walk to work.
○ Remote sensors on garbage bins used to alert solid waste collectors.
Key Term #3 - Big data:
● Big data: refers generally to the extremely large data sets that are produced through our
● Every day, data is collected and stored in the cloud that is produced through everything
ranging from our social media activity, to credit cards, to private and public transport
trips, geocoding of our selfies and other apps on our smartphones. ○ Big data can only give us the most basic information.
● These data sets are usually so large that they need extremely large amounts of
computing power to analyze.
● This data can then be used to identify patterns of human behavior, consumer
preferences, or other human interactions.
● We ought to have a right to the value generated by our data.
○ The data we generate is currently reserved to inaccessible private sectors.
Key Ideas From This Week:
● Public and private spaces are not necessarily separate spaces. They are often created
by what we do to them through our uses of mobile technologies.
● Technologies like the cellphone contribute to creation of private spaces within cities.
○ Spaces of both isolation and connection.
● Smart city technologies are leading to the digital organization of everyday life in cities.
○ Collection of our data about our activities in space.
● These new technologies raise important questions about who is planning our cities, who
has access to data about us, and how this is changing both public and private life in