The project’s first year is devoted to DATA Dialogues. UVASMART ENVIRONMENTS invites all interested community members, students, and faculty to join evening discussions focused on data—its policies and its design. While ‘the digital’ is often described as a revolution for architecture, urbanism, and the social realm, this year’s DATA Dialogues will focus on both its successes and its failures specifically regarding a lack of legible embedded assumptions or clear data ethics. Ultimately, DATA Dialogues will focus the next stage of the project—Data Projects and a Data Exchange symposium—helping to hone focus topics, sites and data of interest, and target outcomes. We invite presenters to raise critical provocations related to the social equity and urban spatial implications of data informatics, citing specific examples in the built environment when possible. We will then invite participants and observers to reflect on speaker provocations. While data access helps us collect more information, many questions remain, such as:

  • a) are we harnessing the right data to improve the design and quality of life in our communities?
  • b) who sets data policies and based on what feedback?
  • c) how do we promote stewardship toward a sustainable future?

Data is neither “bad” nor “good”; the difference is in its application.