urban, data, data cultures, sustainable development
This report summarises the initial results from the research project "Urban Data Cultures: Understanding Creation and Management of Housing-Related Information in Post-Communist Republics". This project seeks to better understand the how geographically-varied ‘data cultures’ (i.e. variegated representations, values, norms, epistemologies, practices, infrastructures, standards, power structures, etc, through which data is produced and used) inform the monitoring of progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly as they relate to urban housing. For this pilot module, the countries of Georgia, Ukraine, Albania and Kyrgyzstan have been selected as research settings. Our main methods were: in-depth interviews with officials engaged in housing policy and management at the central, regional and local levels (n=24); notes from informal conversations, workshops and visits to state departments; and an analysis of background policy reports, journalism and academic literature related to the case study countries. On the basis of this material, we explore how management styles of housing data are observably impacted in our field settings by three key dynamics: marketization/decentralization; knowledge and expertise; and the evolution of data sharing infrastructures. We then proceed to outline a five-dimensional model of 'data cultures', comprising: 'relationships between data and decision-making'; 'relationships between the data of particular public organizations and civil society'; 'systematicity of data collection'; 'attitudes towards data sharing'; and 'specialization of data-related functions'. In conclusion, we outline some preliminary recommendations.