Eliciting design principles using a data justice framework for participatory urban water governance observatories

Fenna Imara Hoefsloot*, Andrea Jimenez, Javier Martinez, Liliana Miranda Sara, K. Pfeffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Participatory urban observatories can potentially improve transparency in
infrastructure governance, offer opportunities for residents’ engagement,
and amplify the voice of marginalized people in urban governance. While
often optimistically presented as a tool to address empowerment issues in
the Global South, participatory urban observatories are critiqued for
reproducing urban inequalities in the digital infrastructure. In this
paper, we review the design and implementation of participatory urban
observatories and dashboards in public (water) infrastructure
governance and their potential to contribute to data justice. This paper
responds to calls for data justice by examining how participatory urban
observatories are (or are not) conducive to inclusive data practices.
Additionally, we contribute to bridging the divide between data justice
in theory and practice by eliciting design principles. The principles
highlight the importance of creating smart city interventions
collaboratively to avoid reproducing unjust systems and to imagine
new ways of enacting a more just city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-638
Number of pages22
JournalInformation technology for development
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • UT-Hybrid-D


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