According to Kitchin et al. (2015, p. 12), “the power of indicators, benchmarking and dashboards is that they reveal in detail and very clearly the state of play of cities.” Thanks to this power, people can get to know their city by the visualization and analysis made from the data. Indicators can be used to track the change of specific phenomenon. They are usually integrated with another index to provide the view for the whole contexts. In terms of cities, indicators serve as an instrument to gauge the cities’ performance. This is often illustrated by the charts of maps and can provide some forecast for the future trend. The indicator data is very helpful for the bodies to monitor and evaluate the efficiency of urban services and policy. This can also supports them to manage and govern the cities. There are two approaches for the cities to use these kinds of data. The first one is that they promote democracy and accountability and the second is that they enforce regulation to develop effectiveness.
The agenda generated by United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) has pointed out that the indicators of sustainable development should be fostered for the officials to reach wise decision in terms of protecting environment and promoting economic at the same time. Following this, city officials and citizens’ community should figure out and invent the indicator data that suffice the needs of their areas.
Data analysis is involved in 11 fields of activities run by local officials. One area is for opening government, which means data is made to be transparent for those who require Freedom of Information policy in the North of England. Another field supported by data analytics is the transformation of public service in Newcastle. Thanks to this, social workers can keep track of the changes in children’s social care services and cope with complicated family needs in a better way. Beside this, “Leeds’s Innovation Labs provide a space for local developers to experiment with open data sets to solve social problems, and develop viable new products and services.” (Symons, 2016, p.7)
Brighton & Hove City Council. ‘Brighton & Hove Community Insight’ <https://brighton-hove.communityinsight.org/map/>
Kitchin, R. Lauriault, T. & McArdle, G. 2015. ‘Knowing and governing cities through urban indicators, city benchmarking and real-time dashboards’ Regional Studies, Regional Science, vol 2 issue 1, pp 6-28.
Symons, T. 2016. Wise Council: Insights from the cutting-edge of data-driven local government. London, Local Government Association.