Sallie Keller, Director, Social Decision Analytics Lab, Virginia Tech, Keynote Address: “Urban Informatics, an Analytical Perspective” at the workshop on Building Resilient Cities: How Cities can Harness the Power of Urban Informatics .

The urban population is increasing rapidly, setting the stage for opportunities and challenges. The paramount goals of a city are survival and fostering healthy growth, addressing and prevailing in competition for resources, preventing and overcoming catastrophes and disruptions, and creating and exploiting innovations and opportunities for the benefit of the city and all inhabitants. A city conducts a cognitive calculus by weighing the benefits versus costs in making decisions, which can be linear or wicked (challenging to solve because they are resistant to solutions). In the context of the city as a system, resources are critical to outcomes and data is one of these important resources, especially data collected by the city for policy or regulatory purposes or to gather information, such as the use of sensors to capture traffic flows. Questions need to guide the development of analytics that are grounded in social science research and practice. In the presentation below, four characteristics of new sources of data (also known as big data) and several examples of urban analytics in action are provided.

September 30, 2014