How To Build Urban Data Infrastructure and Avoid Digital Displacement
The current municipal data landscape bears some resemblance to 1920s New York City.
Just as successive waves of immigration led to urban overcrowding, the sheer volume of
data generated today exceeds most municipalities’ capacity to process, let alone use.
According to one estimate, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every
day. As the democratization of the automobile changed the nature and intensity of
how Americans used existing infrastructure, cities now struggle to integrate tech stacks
across services and to provide appropriate policy guidance and easy to use interfaces
for citizens and municipal workers.
As municipal leaders are constrained by resources, time, and politics, they must choose
their investments wisely. In this whitepaper, we detail the categories of data investment that offer maximum visibility (i.e., good politics), short and longer term economic returns, and ensure that
building data infrastructure fosters a sense of place and inclusiveness where prior builds
led to displacement and entrenched inequality.