The purpose of CIST’s Grandes Métropoles exploratory project is to provide solutions to a major challenge. It aims to exploit the ‘deluge’ of heterogeneous spatialised information with a view to proposing theoretical and methodological constructs that will be useful to stakeholders and analysts focused on urban questions in order to contribute to resolving the difficulties of data matching over time and space. It also aims to construct transversal analysis categories and to test new hypotheses on the intra- urban dynamics of cities in various contexts.
Initial studies carried out within the framework of this project have opened up many research avenues using traditional data examples, including the analysis of higher/lower land use pressure processes (urbanisation, urban decline), demographic dynamics (densification, population ageing, household structure, mobility, etc.) and the parameters of an economic geography of income (prices, real estate markets, stratification). They have also highlighted the possibility of using less conventional data, such as that from Airbnb, thus broadening the scope of possibilities for intra- and inter-urban comparisons.
This comparative approach, which has been boosted by the increasing interoperability of databases, is not intended to produce normative rankings or dashboards but rather to provide a better understanding of urban dynamics based on critical analyses of local data. By way of example, the measurement and representation of air pollution could be tackled through a number of key questions. Beyond the current situation regarding the availability of data for different cities, what are the relevant spatial and temporal aggregations of data collected at the level of air quality monitoring stations? How should participatory data from wearable air quality sensors be integrated? What are the relevance and limitations of a global pollution measure in inter-urban comparisons?
The question is how best to capitalise on and share these small advances. The workshops have already been reported on the CIST website, and links to some of the datasets and data processing programmes are expected to be put in place soon. We will also start an Hypotheses blog , which will link these reports with different information on dataset exploration and development.