Cities are traditionally built from the pavement of streets and roads, the glass and steel of skyscrapers, the trees and grass of parks and public spaces. But increasingly a new material is used for the construction and management of cities: data. The growing torrent of information released by city governments and collected by researchers is connecting with new tools developed by computer scientists, enabling significant advances in urban planning, medicine, social science and other spheres.
On November 20th, representatives of those fields gathered onstage for Chicago: City of Big Data, a UChicago Discovery Series panel discussion of research and educational efforts focused on transforming cities through data and computation. In a vibrant 90-minute conversation moderated by Charlie Catlett, director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), the panelists described work underway at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and outlined their visions for the future of data-driven urban design and governance.