Towards a better understanding of upcoming challenges related to technology and data usability within design practice. Key reflections from a collaborative process in Amsterdam city

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2019
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AESOP
Abstract
The digital turn of the twenty-first century has unleashed an unprecedented amount of high quality data. Whereas most industries have eagerly taken advantage of this information to cut costs and improve their products, designers are still searching for an instrumental approach to implement data as a design tool. Technology companies and research institutes seem to have the tools to investigate today's challenges for better cities. However, their tools are not reaching into the design practice. We argue that we need to start a dialogue between the worlds of design, data and technology to find out what the real value is of big data for the spatial design disciplines. We propose to run an experimental case study using data as force of design and share our findings with the discipline. This paper describes and reflects on a process carried out by a project funded by Creative Industries NL and the Municipality of Amsterdam to develop a Smart City-Scan (an experimental data-driven Sustainability Scan) applied in the city of Amsterdam. This project aims to map spatial challenges and opportunities for sustainable and resilient urban design, hereby creating an integral foundation for healthy urban ecosystems. The Scan is executed in collaboration with experts on sustainability, data analysts, decision makers and other urban design offices through a series of six workshops. In conjunction with this paper, we will reflect on the role of these discussions between academics and practitioners aiming to bridge the rift between theory and its application within practice, specifically regarding research on potential technological methods and tools which could be potentially useful for daily practice struggles. This paper aims to provide insights on the content discussions carried out, but also reflects deeply within the methodology and potential outcomes obtained from the multidisciplinary discourse of shaping the smart city scan.
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sustainability design, collaborative planning, urban analytics, multidisciplinary design
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