Circular City Data Program

New Circular City Journal for New York City

ARCx created and leads the new Circular City Data Journal with the collaboration of colleagues from NYU, Cornell Tech and Columbia University.

What is Circular City Data

Though we talk of an overabundance of data, it is often still not visible or tactically wielded at the local level in a way that benefits people. Moreover, while data abounds and is so crucial to address urban challenges data markets are highly inefficient and far from considering both the public and private good. On the private sector side, note the debacle of Sidewalk Lab’s in Toronto; in the public realm note the difficulties mayors face with narratives around monetization of city data.

Circular city data is the topic being explored in the first iteration of New Lab’s The Circular City program, which looks at data and knowledge as the energy, flow, and medium of collaboration. Circular data refers to the collection, production, exchange, use, reuse and sharing of data, and business insights, between a series of collaborators around a shared set of inquiries. In some scenarios, data may be produced by start-ups and of high value to the city; in other cases, data may be produced by the city and of potential value to the public, start-ups, or enterprise companies. The conditions that need to be in place to safely, ethically, and efficiently extrapolate the highest potential value from data are what this program aims to uncover (through transaction mechanisms that do not necessarily require currency, i.e., through reciprocity).

While data abounds, resources to make sense out of it are scarce, people’s needs are not being met, urban challenges are getting more complex, urban inequality is widening, and the world is in deep need of smarter ways of collaboration capable of establishing the local, regional, and global partnerships needed to build new and sustainable social, economic, and environmental models.

What are the outcomes and results for New York City after year #1 of the program?

  1. Citywide research network ready to be expanded
  2. New concept – circular city data – that emphasizes how ‘sandboxes’ for collaboration are necessary to meaningfully explore the complicated and pressing issues surrounding urban data
  3. Innovation roadmap that highlights why it’s important for researchers to be able to work alongside and with startups, policymakers, entrepreneurs etc.
  4. Hypotheses tested that confirm the value of circular city data and the large potential of a dedicated platform/technology to make cities smarter
  5. Research Journal for dissemination of lessons learned and encouragement of more research in the circular city field.