Many cities have been investing resources into the generation of new forms of data such as big data for better-informed governance. To unlock these potential transformations, we need a wider, more inclusive dialogue over the meaning and nature of these advancements. While smart cities around the world have attempted to become “big data” cities using sensors and devices for monitoring and surveillance, the need for additional technical and institutional capacities to turn information or “data” into insight has been increasingly felt. Also, to turn insights into evidence-based policies that are more inclusive, effective, and efficient, local authorities will need greatly expanded institutional processes that can go beyond the technical (or technocratic) to incorporate the perspectives and insights of urban citizens. The recently endorsed Global Urban monitoring framework has provided a base structure upon which many cities and local governments can begin to monitor their progress in a comparable manner. The session will examine the opportunities and challenges available in cities that help enhance evidence based planning and discuss avenues of how this can be improved as part of the wider scope of accelerating the gains of the SDGs and NUA in cities and local governments.
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