The Data Stories project focuses critical attention on the underlying evidence base for planning and property activity.

Planning and property data are a key to how cities are understood and managed. They inform government policy, shape public perception, and guide billions of euros of investment relating to land use and development, public and private housing, homelessness, commercial real estate, and infrastructure. Yet, relatively little close, critical attention has been paid to such data beyond some technical considerations related to data access, coverage, quality and interoperability. The Data Stories project will address this lacuna, undertaking a five year programme of research in order to examine the data ecosystem, politics, praxes and power operating within the planning and property domains. It is divided into two phases.

Phase 1 of the Data Stories project, which consists of (i) charting in micro-detail the planning and property data ecosystem for Dublin – all the databases, their content and their interconnections across state, business, civic society stakeholders, including transnational exchanges; (ii) interviewing key actors about their data work and experiences. The objective here is to examine forensically what data are generated, how they are processed, shared, and governed, and to identify any gaps.

Phase 2 will work more closely with 12 sector stakeholders belonging to the Dublin data ecosystem (4 state, 4 business, 4 civic society) to conduct in-depth case studies. In part, this will involve using traditional social sciences methods (such as interviews, focus groups, observation of data generation procedures, walk-through interviews of data practices, in-situ ethnographies), but it will also utilise research-creation methods utilising fiction and art practices (improvisational writing, word play techniques and facilitated conversations, and data art workshops that utilise data visualisation, physicalisation and creative media techniques), working with creative writers and artists to produce a set of data stories. Half of the case studies will produce data stories about, and half data stories with, planning and property data.

The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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