Tracey Lauriault

Assistant Professor in Critical Media and Big Data, Communication and Media Studies, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University

    Tracey P. Lauriault, is Assistant Professor in Critical Media and Big Data, Communication and Media Studies, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University and Cross Appointed to the MA in Digital Humanities. Her work on open and big data and open smart cities, is international, transdisciplinary and multi-sectoral. She is one of the founders of the new domain of critical data studies and of open data in Canada and has expertise in data infrastructures, spatial media and smart cities.

    As a board member of the Institute for Data Science she bridges computer science, social theory and public policy. She serves on the multi-stakeholder forum for Canadian Open Government Civil Society Network, is on the Board for Open North Canada, and is a research associate with the Manyooth University Social Science Institute in Ireland, the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University and the Centre for Law Technology and Society at Ottawa University and the Steering Committee for Research Data Canada.

    Data and related data technologies are core infrastructure for cities and are more that IT and operations, and I would argue that smart city technologies should be part of urban plans and be discussed with residents. These large technological systems no only manage and monitor infrastructure, they are infrastructure that involve, data, code, algorithms, apps, sensors, and platforms that will manage traffic, utilities, equipment and bridges, but also, they are technologies that observe, survey and nudge social behaviour. It might therefore be time for social and technological impact assessments – social, environment, economic, and public good. We will need to apply systems thinking across all business units, from social services to transit, and integrated across digital strategies, open government and data, and procurement. The ideals of open smart cities are moving us in that direction, and it might be better to start that opening consultative processes now before we get locked into large technological solutions that may not be in the public interest.