The secret life of public data — on working in local government innovation

Abstract: In this talk, Sebastian will briefly reflect on the past seven years working with various local government planning departments and community groups on the role of ‘civic data’ in the widest sense. He will talk about the ‘data work’ involved and the on-going work involved in ‘updating data’ for future planning systems. Case in point are his experiences with ‘OpinionExplorer’, a tool produced from comments in planning consultations, a type of user-generated content, and participatory campaigns run by PlaceChangers, his company. He will reflect on the progresses made towards ‘infrastructures for participation’ based on work in public planning in the UK and what it might mean for young scholars who set out working in this domain. 

Speaker: Sebastian is an academic and practitioner. At Newcastle University, Sebastian is lecturer for digital civics at the School for Architecture, Planning, and Landscape. As a founder and director at PlaceChangers Ltd, he enjoys working with groups and organisations on the places they care about. Most recently, Sebastian has run a series of mapping campaigns (also dubbed ‘tagging games’) for parish councils and a local development trust on the basis he has explored new forms of engagement in local planning.