The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) and the city of Groningen will collect, process and present data together, with a new organisation: the CBS Urban Data Center Regio Groningen. Last Tuesday, both signed an agreement for the new center. The Urban Data Center aims to find new and effective ways for data to serve the public good. Government, citizens, companies and institutions will get better insight in what’s happening in their city and the surrounding region.
The CBS Urban Data Center will provide knowledge and data about safety, health, mobility, education, sustainability and economic trends. This new center is valuable for both the city and the region, because the CBS has a large collection of unique data. The city of Groningen emphasizes it also wants to involve and work together with other municipalities in the region, and also the University of Groningen, IBM, the Hanze University, TNO and other parties.
Smart Urban Region
City alderman of Economics & Innovation Joost van Keulen is very excited about the new collaboration: “It’s fantastic that CBS wants to share its knowledge and expertise with cities and regions. Solid and recent data is vital for our society and even essential nowadays. New developments in this area are growing exponentially and it’s also characteristic of Groningen to want to take the lead in this.”
Groningen wants to showcase itself as a ‘Smart Urban Region’, making good and effective use of the power of technology and data. CBS will provide their expertise in combining new big data sources with the existing data of both the city and the government bureau itself. Researchers from the municipal Research & Statistics department will work closely with CBS data scientist in the new data center.
The power of technology and data
So what is big data? Simply put, people, devices and systems are becoming increasingly interconnected, which in turn provides a lot of valuable information or data to work with. Analysis of that data can help give insight into very complex problems or even provide us with completely new ways of looking at or dealing with complex issues. With this new collaboration between the municipality and the CBS, everyday issues facing the city and its region become far more transparent, which allows for better and informed decision making.
The Urban Data Center will be housed right in the middle of the city center, at the foot of the Martini tower. Researchers there will closely work together on tangible and practical projects, starting as a 1 year experiment. The center will not only work for the city of Groningen itself, but also for the surrounding municipalities.
This is the third CBS Urban Data Center in the Netherlands. Since past September, the CBS also opened data centers in Eindhoven and Heerlen. The bureau is currently also in talks with other cities, with the latest center opening in March in Zwolle.