New Urban Agenda: New Urban Analytics

This report looks at the new urban analytics and smart cities and their relation to planning, managing and governing the city within the UK. It is a project collaboration between the MacArthur Foundation and the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), contextualised within UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the key Goal 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” on the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

Date added 15 October 2021
Last updated 15 October 2021

*This resource is about smart cities. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to innovation, liveability and adaptability priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

This report looks at the new urban analytics and smart cities and their relation to planning, managing and governing the city within the UK. It is a project collaboration between the MacArthur Foundation and the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), contextualised within UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the key Goal 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” on the New Urban Agenda (NUA). The research analysed country wide approaches to smart cities, urban analytics and the NUA and a UK wide workshop, research conference and a practitioner workshop was conducted as part of the project. The project predominantly focused on three issues:

  1. Planning cities
    • Monitoring and responding to change
  2. Managing cities
    • Predictive analytics
  3. Governing cities
    • Data driven government
    • Metadata
    • City Data Portal

In order to successfully use data analytics and digital methods in planning, managing and governing cities, certain lessons have been identified and should be considered (p. 10):

  • system architecture is critical
  • sustainability – how do you keep data input up to date and how do you manage automatic input of data from process?
  • there is institutional fear of data collection and analysis
  • how does data capture become part of the day to day operations?
  • what is the bare minimum of activity in data collection and analysis to be successful?
  • political support and leadership – how important is it?
  • these approaches take time to deliver e.g. City of New York CompStat

As such, there are three key challenges to consider when attempting to support the delivery of the NUA using urban analytics to assist in policy making (p. 12):

  • The cultural challenge of recognizing the need for evidence to be brought together in a meaningful way.
  • The institutional challenge of recognizing the role of evidence and data analytics in decision making as part of evidence-based policy making.
  • The data challenge in aligning data sources and frameworks derived from a range of systems that may be open source, bespoke or from the community, in a repository that can be used by government, the community, stakeholders and individuals.

The report concludes with a research agenda outlining the characteristics cities need to possess in order to deliver the NUA (p. 75):

  1. Resilient
  2. Environmentally sustainable
  3. Participative
  4. Informed
  5. Adaptable
  6. Efficient
  7. Equitable
  8. Healthy
  9. Economically sound and capable of growth
  10. Inclusive
  11. Well governed

It also points to what type of research is needed to ensure the delivery of NUA, including broader challenges, measurement of fulfilment, effects of existing practices, equity, housing, retrofitting, local data stores, public access standards, administrative and economic boundaries, demographics and governance.