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Accepted Paper:

Data rules!: Upholding jurisdictional power through data literacy in regional planning  
Andrew Hamann (University of California, Irvine) Paul Dourish (UC Irvine)

Long abstract:

Given the racist histories of mapping practices that actively construct today’s geopolitics in the United States (e.g. redlining), we must critically investigate how jurisdictions maintain power through data literacy initiatives that uphold some interpretations of public life over others. This project is about the politics of data literacy and data rhetoric across federal, regional, and local scales of public planning expertise where scopes of oversight are manufactured by resource allocation. Paternalistic education produces knowledge hierarchies that maintain dominant interpretations and applications of data. In other words, though education may have the potential to increase inclusion and participation, here it remains a mechanism which reifies the politics of scale and asserts the power of oversight.

In Southern California, the regional planning organization directs local planners’ data literacy through weekly workshops. Importantly, the top-down flow (federal to state, state to region) by which education occurs, should be viewed critically. To such critical ends, we examined a collection of publicly archived teleconference workshops that aim to teach local planners how to use various data tools embedded within best practices, recommended workflows, and policy frameworks. Our analysis investigates this knowledge production and circulation of public planning data tools. We offer insights into how the production of this jurisdictional hierarchy within the planning profession is reified through such education initiatives.

Traditional Open Panel P142
Datafied publics
  Session 1