Data-Driven Cities

City leaders need good data to make good decisions. Powerful new tools give them more ways to collect and analyze data about city performance than ever before. At the same time, as countries implement landmark agreements like the Sustainable Development Goals, cities face new mandates to measure their progress and report results. Mayors, civil society, researchers and citizens are looking with fresh urgency for data on what’s working on the ground in cities.

  • How is the data revolution impacting cities? Scroll down to see all of Citiscope’s coverage.
  • In 2017, governments for the first time agreed to bolster data capacity at all levels. Check back here for updates as these plans are rolled out.
  • For background, see two commentaries on the global process to agree on “indicators” to gauge progress on sustainable urban development — here and here.
BudgIT’s online tool tracks the implementation of government infrastructure and service provision projects at the sub-national level.
Brendon Bosworth February 22, 2017
After the first such office opened in September, the country plans to have eight operating by the end of this year — with more in the works.
Brendon Bosworth February 1, 2017
Report lays out guidelines just as data has moved to top of international agenda.
David Hatch January 24, 2017
This German initiative is looking to cities.
Claudia Schwegmann January 23, 2017
To facilitate robust urban development, the data revolution will need to be accompanied by a capacity revolution, experts say.
Brendon Bosworth January 20, 2017
But city officials say the information Uber is offering is not robust enough to be useful.
David Hatch January 19, 2017
Marching orders came as the General Assembly formally adopted the Habitat III strategy.
Gregory Scruggs January 9, 2017

A data revolution is needed to ensure that more stats about city life are accessible to app developers, the South China Morning Post says.

December 14, 2016

The Brazilian city joins Medellín and Bogotá, Colombia, Santiago, Chile and Guadalajara, Mexico as winners of the regional competition. 

December 5, 2016
Even rich countries will struggle to monitor progress and inform policymaking. But momentum is picking up to fill this gap.
Brendon Bosworth November 30, 2016

A new book by Jill Jonnes explores how cities can protect, conserve and restore tree canopies, National Geographic reports. 

November 23, 2016
A tool used by more than 100 cities gives them a way to measure their ability to withstand disasters without having to actually endure one.
Anna Valmero November 10, 2016
Urbanization tips from Scandinavia and China, culture’s role in building better cities, responding to climate change and migration — and more!
Gregory Scruggs and Carey L. Biron November 2, 2016

The city wins plaudits for its ‘smart’ city advances while prompting concerns about how it will use the data it gathers, Forbes reports.  

October 28, 2016
Good urban planning can’t happen without a better understanding of informal settlements, advocates say.
Brendon Bosworth October 20, 2016
An initiative is collecting data with a mobile app and visualizing it with balloons and a map.
Brendon Bosworth October 20, 2016
El nuevo Atlas de la Expansión Urbana utiliza datos antiguos y nuevos para representar gráficamente lo que verdaderamente significa el crecimiento urbano masivo.
Gregory Scruggs October 19, 2016
The new Atlas of Urban Expansion draws on old and new data to paint a picture of what massive urban growth really means.
Gregory Scruggs October 19, 2016
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