Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Asian Geographer

For a Special Issue on

Digitalization and Datafication of Urban Transformation

Manuscript deadline
01 October 2023

Cover image - Asian Geographer

Special Issue Editor(s)

Mengzhu Zhang, School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University
[email protected]

Yiyang Yang, School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology
[email protected]

Si Qiao, Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong
[email protected]

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Digitalization and Datafication of Urban Transformation

The contemporary world is undergoing drastic digitalization and datafication. Such trend has brought both opportunity and challenge to the research on urban transformation. In epistemology, big data analytics constitutes a new paradigm of knowledge production, which helps to capture the general patterns of human mobility, capital flow and spatial shift of economic activities in a more accurate and predictive manner. But meanwhile, the prevailing data-driven research has marginalized the traditional questionnaire surveys and qualitative methods, which have unique merits in deciphering the fundamental and nuanced mechanism of social issues, particularly those related to the (re)production of sociospatial inequality. It is thus imperative to combine big data and small data approaches to search for new research paradigms of understanding urban transformation.

In practice, big data and algorithm-based economic practices (e.g. platform economy) and political practices (e.g. smart city building) have restructured the form of provision and consumption of public services. Despite the enhanced urban efficiency at the aggregate level, the emerging platform-based business and regulation models involve the (re)production of inequality in individual access to jobs, public service and life chances. It also challenges and restructures the traditional models of social regulation and urban governance. It is thus imperative to look beyond the rhetorical promises around the concepts of “big data”, “digitalization”, “crowdsourcing” and “platform economy” to examine the wide and disruptive effects of big data-based economic and political practices on urban transformation.

This special issue seeks to address the aforementioned two gaps. It welcomes innovative and interdisciplinary contributions that focus on the digitalization and datafication of urban transformation, treating it either as the method of knowing or the object of investigation. Authors are encouraged to submit papers on the following topics:

  1. Creative combination of big and small data approaches to understand urban transformation (e.g. human mobility, neighborhood change, economic activity, intra/inter-city inequality and relation);
  2. Digital divide and unequal access to urban service and social opportunity;
  3. Unequal sociospatial impact of platform economy;
  4. Political economy and politics of smart city building;
  5. Emerging governance issues about big data-based service and economy;
  6. Theoretical discussion on the digitalization and datafication of/in cities.

Submission Instructions

  • Please send your abstract, in 500-800 words, to Dr. Mengzhu Zhang ([email protected]).
  • Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be notified by 8 May 2023.
  • The special issue in full is expected to be published in August 2024, but indvidiual papers can be published online first as soon as they are accepted.

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