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Mapping the city archive – urban data and public participation in planning

The city is continuously being reshaped and rebuilt through political and administrative decisions as well as through the actions of individuals and private businesses. This activity leaves traces that constitute an archive of the city – both of its physical form, but also of the processes and negotiations and controversies that preceded it. One such example is the Planning and Building Permit Archive of the Agency for Planning and Building Services in Oslo, where records are kept of the decisions and processes that lie behind all physical amendments in the city, from the smallest renovation of private apartments to large urban development plans. The archive is publicly accessible as a result of national policies of transparency in public governance. The questions we ask are what could this archive be used for if processed through digital and social media. What would such digital ways of unpacking by means of visualization, remediation and dissemination make for? What kind of maps could be composed and what would they tell about the city? Concerning the archive itself, what status would that have when redistributed – and re-networked – through digital and social media?

Martin, N., & Hemmersam, P., & Westvang, E., & Aspen, J., & Morrison, A. 2015. 'Mapping the city archive – urban data and public participation in planning'. Journal of Urban Technology. Forthcoming.