Infoscience

Journal article

Digital Tools as a Means to Foster Inclusive, Data-informed Urban Planning

Rapid urbanization, climate change, resource depletion, the desire for more sustainable development and widespread use of the Internet and mobile phones are major challenges for urban planning. While the smart city model is seen as a means to cope with these challenges, it is often reduced to an amalgam of technologies. Citizens are usually seldom included in the planning process, though the knowledge they produce and can share on how they use and live in the city is extremely valuable. Digital technologies create an opportunity to reshape the planning process by improving interactions and information exchanges among urban planners and citizens, which are central in the move towards more sustainable, responsive planning. This research aims to answer the following two questions: (1) how is digital participation changing the role citizens play in urban planning and decision making processes? and, (2) what are the advantages and limitations of involving citizens in these processes through digital tools? This paper explores how digital tools can be harnessed to enhance citizen involvement in the planning process. We will give an overview of how these tools can inform urban planning by providing citizen-centric data to foster more inclusive and responsive planning. This paper identifies both the opportunities - particularly in terms of data production and exchange – and limitations of digital tools.

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