“We need better data” is a constant in our work at Open Data Manchester. Nowhere is this more true than with geographical data. We have national and regional data, and relatively good data at the local authority level, but there is a gaping hole in the availability of data at the town level. We still haven’t decided what a town is! This is particularly important given that the last two decades have seen the dominance of cities and city-regions as engines of economic growth. If we are to construct better place-based policy, it makes sense to have much better place-based data.
Which is why we’re bringing together Ian Warren – Centre for Towns, Professor Cathy Parker – Institute of Place Management (MMU) and Tom Forth – Iamactivate and ODI Leeds to hear about why these issues are critically important for everyone and what we need to do about it. During this session we want to look at the state of publicly-available data on local transport, high street retail and arts & culture to understand why better data would equal better policy, and what we can do about it.
In her recent best-selling book Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem. Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of colour, specifically women of colour- and contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.
Safiya Umoja Noble
Dr. Safiya U. Noble is an assistant professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Communication. She is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award.
Noble’s academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology design. Her monograph on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines is entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press). She currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of two books: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online, and Emotions, Technology & Design and several articles and book chapters. Safiya holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno with an emphasis on African American/Ethnic Studies. She is a partner in Stratelligence, a firm that specializes in research on information and data science challenges, and is a co-founder of the Information Ethics & Equity Institute, which provides training for organizations committed to transforming their information management practices toward more just, and equitable outcomes.
Supported by MMU and The Federation in partnership with The Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation
After a brief summer hiatus Open Data Manchester is back and temporarily at a different venue.
The last event saw James Cattell from Digital Birmingham, Andrew MacKenzie from the UK Governments Open Data User Group and Jag Goraya from GIST Foundation in Sheffield talking about how open data initiatives were developing in Birmingham and Sheffield and Birmingham City Council’s adoption of a corporate open data strategy.
Since the last meeting there has been quite a bit of activity mostly around some forthcoming hackdays and support for open data initiatives in Manchester. Last Tuesday we had the launch of Tech Hub Manchester in Carver’s Warehouse on Dale Street, Manchester. This is going to be a new co-working space networked into Tech Hub London and a wider international digital start-up community and we will be having the Tech Hub people coming to talk about the initiative and Start-up Weekend a two day hack event utilising open data.
The City of Manchester is also looking at developing open data as far as part of a new Technology Strategy Board – Future Cities Demonstrator project. This is a large £24 million fund that will help the creation of digital services within the city. Anne Dornan who is working on the project will explain how open data fits into this.
If you are interested in public transport, and a lot of people are, Move*Manchester is an Innovation Challenge that will be running in March 2013. The planning is being finalised, but it will entail a weekend event based around a hackathon that will lead to product development and support. The prize fund and support package to develop products and services will be approximately £35,000 and is part of the CitySDK programme run by FutureEverything and Manchester City Council with the support of Open Data Manchester. More details to follow.
Also we will be looking at the latest data releases on DataGM, TfGM, cool developments and anything else people want to show