Urban Observatory in Karnataka to Help Policy Making Using Data


Karnataka is exploring the idea of having an Urban Observatory to equip urban management and development through tools for data collection, analysis, presentation, visualisation and application. The objective is to effectively generate suitable policy response to local and state level concerns.

A workshop Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and the National Institute of Urban Affairs recently highlighted factors that need to go into making the observatory effective. It deliberated on the collaborative ways and priorities for creating an Urban Observatory for Karnataka.

“Data is the digital fuel… [It] can substantially contribute towards data driven governance,” said SV Ranganath, former Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka.

However, the data we have is often not the data we need. “95% of the data is unsuitable… [However] knowledge is there in more than one accessible form,” said Jagan Shah, Direction, NIUA. He stressed on the need for decentralised collection of data and contextualised interpretation of the data to solve local problems.

Anjali Mohan, urban and regional planner currently associated with the Indian Housing Federation said that it is important to have a closed feedback loop for the observatory. “Simply collecting data is not enough. The collected data should be analysed in order to make data actionable. It is important that government institutions be invested in the observatory.”

The discussions focussed on sources and types of data, properties and boundaries for the digital environment that will host such a platform, institutional ownership and governance structure of the proposed observatory and the priority towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which can be tracked.


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