Making Data Visible in Public Space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Downloads (Pure)


“Transparency” is continually set as a core value for cities as they digitalize. Global initiatives and regulations claim that transparency will be key to making smart cities ethical. Unfortunately, how exactly to achieve a transparent city is quite opaque. Current regulations often only mandate that information be made accessible in the case of personal data collection. While such standards might encourage anonymization techniques, they do not enforce that publicly collected data be made publicly visible or an issue of public concern. This paper covers three main needs for data transparency in public space. The first, why data visibility is important, sets the stage for why transparency cannot solely be based on personal as opposed to anonymous data collection as well as what counts as making data transparent. The second concern, how to make data visible onsite, addresses the issue of how to create public space that communicates its sensing capabilities without overwhelming the public. The final section, what regulations are necessary for data visibility, argues that for a transparent public space government needs to step in to regulate contextual open data sharing, data registries, signage, and data literacy education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalMcGill GLSA Research Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021


  • Smart City
  • Transparency
  • Visibility
  • Signage
  • Data Awareness


Dive into the research topics of 'Making Data Visible in Public Space'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this