news | 31.10.2014 | Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah

UBDC Launch Reception, Keynote and Panel Discussion

30th September, 2014 was a big day for the Urban Big Data Centre, as it marked our official launch and accompanying events. In addition to organising a free public workshop in the afternoon, we also hosted an evening reception, keynote address and panel discussion to bring the work of the UBDC to the forefront and to open dialogue about the challenges and opportunities of working in urban big data.

Prof Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow started with a welcome address, followed by a welcome from Paul Grice, Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament. 

The keynote address titled “Science and the future of cities” featured honoured guest Sir Alan Wilson, FBA, FRS, Professor of Urban Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at the University College London, who is also the Chair of the Lead Expert Group, Foresight 'Future of Cities' Project in the Government Office for Science. Sir Alan’s keynote provided the perfect backdrop to the core policy challenges facing cities.  


The keynote address led to the finale of our launch event, with a panel discussion titled “Urban Big Data: Application, Impact and Research Gaps.” In addition to Sir Alan Wilson, the panel featured perspectives from Neil Serougi from the ESRC Methods and Infrastructure Committee, Steven Ramage, Managing Director for Ordnance Survey International, and Carol Connolly, Director of the Glasgow City Council led Future City Glasgow programme.

Discussion points ranged from what is new in data-driven urban decision-making, the role of data in shock-proofing cities and building (economically and environmentally) resilient cities, to education and data literacy as well as potential limits and issues with regard to data access, privacy and confidentiality. The panelists brought forward myriad perspectives from the academic, public and private sectors for an engaging discussion on the potential and pitfalls surrounding the use of Big Data for urban planning and management.  

The full video recording of the keynote and panel discussion can be viewed.

Many thanks to everyone for making the launch so successful! We will be having future events of this nature and so do stay tuned to our website and social media outlets!

Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah

Professor Vonu Thakuriah led our Centre from its inception in 2014 until July 2018. She is, from October 2018, Distinguished Professor of Rutgers University in the Greater New York City Area and Dean of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Vonu remains closely connected to the Centre and the University as a Visiting Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences.

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