Dean's Lecture

Towards an Equitable Data-Driven Urbanism: Transforming Urban Theory and Practice via Data Science

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
4:10 pm to 5:30 pm
Karen Chapple

Live stream: Towards an Equitable Data-Driven Urbanism: Transforming Practice via Data Science

Live stream: Towards an Equitable Data-Driven Urbanism: Transforming Practice via Data Science

The availability of new forms of data on different aspects of everyday life, analyzed and shared via new data analytics, has created an opportunity to depart from the old routines of data collection, cleaning, variable construction, and regression analysis. Working with fine-grained, real-time data has inspired a new generation of researchers eager to design smarter cities (despite the cautions of critical urban theorists). But few have examined how new forms of found data offer the potential to rethink urban policies that are built on outdated assumptions and data — and often lead to inequitable outcomes.

In this talk I use the lens of my Urban Displacement Project to explore how new sources of data, such as geotagged Twitter data, upend our traditional understandings of neighborhood change, while also facilitating new forms of participatory action research and global comparative case studies. At the same time, big data and analytics may reinforce existing inequities in urban policy and landscapes. Understanding of local context, as well as the ability to integrate data and information from multiple perspectives, will prove critical to understanding — and transforming — how cities reproduce power in the age of data.

Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is a professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she holds the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the U.S. and Latin America, with a focus on housing and economic development. Her books include Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development (Routledge 2015, and winner of the John Friedmann Book Award); Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, MIT Press, 2019); and Fragile Governance and Local Economic Development: Theory and Evidence from Peripheral Regions in Latin America (with Sergio Montero, Routledge, 2018).

In Fall 2015, she co-founded the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy solutions. Chapple's climate change and tax policy research won the UC Bacon Public Lectureship, and she has also received the 2017 UC Berkeley Chancellor's Award for Research in the Public Interest. She received a Fulbright Global Scholar Award for 2017-2018 to expand the Urban Displacement Project to cities in Europe and Latin America. Her research group is currently supported with funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Facebook, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Strategic Growth Council, and the California Air Resources Board. Chapple holds a B.A. in urban studies from Columbia University, an M.S.C.R.P from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

Last updated:

January 17, 2019