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Collecting and Visualizing Real-Time Urban Data through City Dashboards

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Dashboards which collect and display real-time streamed data from a variety of rudimentary sensors positioned in the built environment provide an immediate portal for decision-makers to get some sense of their city and environment. These devices are linked to previous renditions of control and management of real-time services in cities, particularly transport, in control-room like settings but they are more flexible and do not require massive investment in hardware. At one level they are simply screens linked to some sort of computational device whose displays are focused in web page like formats. Here we catalogue the experience of building such dashboards for large cities in Great Britain. In particular, we link these to the emergence of open data, particularly reflecting the experience of the London Datastore. We then show how such dashboards can be configured in many different ways: as data tables which give some sort of physical presence to such data delivery, to purpose-built dashboards for schools, and to various moveable displays that have artistic as well as informative merit. To an extent as real-time streamed data become less of a novelty, we expect these dashboards to merge into more generic portals but for the moment they represent one very public face of the smart city and its big data.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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