This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Smart Governance in the Contemporary Era.
Open government data in the smart city: Interoperability, urban knowledge, and linking legacy systems, by Thomas Lodato, Emma French & Jennifer Clark
Open government data (OGD) promise to reveal new insights and inform governance decisions related to changing populations, departmental operations, and economic drivers. Yet, where OGD figure prominently in the vision of a smart city, OGD are, in fact, scarce. From production and distribution practices to file types, organizational structure, and repositories, large quantities of potential OGD remain as legacy data trapped in incumbent systems. This article confronts the challenges of legacy data through a constructivist analysis of data wrangling (i.e., converting data into useful formats). The analysis illustrates that wrangling legacy data is more than a rote technical activity. Our findings suggest that smart governance in practice depends on the ways in which social, organizational, and institutional strategies cope with technical change. Further, our research demonstrates that wrangling legacy data is not a discrete problem to overcome but an operating condition defining the rapidly changing landscape of smart governance.