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Urban data governance

On this page you will find lessons learnt that are distilled from various workshops that the SCIS team attended. The most important points are summarised, giving a quick overview of the challenges / barriers but also solutions with regard to each topic.
Urban Data Governance
Lesson identified at: 


Urban data governance is of vital importance for smart cities. Unfortunately, its implementation may be hindered by diverse barriers. First of all, a transparent and explainable policy on data usage needs to be defined and the foreseen algorithms have to be explainable and open. Moreover, the usage model for existing data has to be changed before an appropriate business model for a data based service operator can be introduced. Technological wise, data from older and different datasets has to be migrated and integrated and the interoperability between the datasets needs to be ensured. Afterwards, open data has to be developed with data analytics. Naturally, the GDPR has to be adhered. The availability of competencies and resources to store, maintain, and aggregate data may also pose a risk. Finally, also the governance will be facing specific challenges concerning data availability (both from public and private entities, sometimes even from another department within the same organization) and data ownership. The urban data governance does also have to align with the local or national strategy and policy. Last but not least, services that are in line with user expectations and the city policy have to be identified.


The pictured barriers can be vanquished via manifold manners. To provide users incentives, societal implications and benefits should be kept in mind. Contracts and procedures need to be handled with care and data sharing should be embedded within them. In the end, a governance model similar to utilities should be established. Additionally, a multidisciplinary team can be assigned as a DPO committee (DPO = Data Protection Officer). Besides, a public-private partnership for data governance should be used.

Plan for Implementation 

Persons in charge can setup an open data portal for their whole city and should federate solutions to integrate partners. They should also figure out the best way to tag and identify personal data automatically. Furthermore, they may identify common ways of working to deal with unexpected data use cases in order to maximize the data usability while complying with GDPR at the same time. They can also define procedures and relation models to work with partners and can organize a workshop on UPDG. It is also indispensable to define good governance models for cities and to collaborate with other cities to share best practices and to discuss about ongoing projects.