University of Twente Student Theses


LGBTQI+ Migrants in a Datafied City: A Qualitative Study on the Use of (Geo)Data in Amsterdam

Boro, Udipta (2021) LGBTQI+ Migrants in a Datafied City: A Qualitative Study on the Use of (Geo)Data in Amsterdam.

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Abstract:Data is the most valuable resource of the 21st century. Cities such as Amsterdam are adopting a data-driven approach to develop people-oriented services and elevate city residents’ quality of life. In the data-driven development of cities, the use of (geo)data also plays a prominent role. While the rapid datafication of cities can be viewed as a step towards futuristic urban development, cities must take into account the growing concerns on the invasion of people’s privacy, hypervisibility, or biased profiling of the data subjects. Such issues are of particular importance when looked at from the perspectives of groups that have been historically discriminated against. Drawing on critical data studies literature, my research aims to understand such (geo)data concerns from the perspective of self-identified LGBTQI+ migrants living in the rapidly datafying city of Amsterdam. After identifying the concerns of my interlocutors, I ask how far-reaching the city’s data policies are to account for those concerns. I conducted eight semi-structured online interviews with LGBTQI+ migrants living in Amsterdam and collected 32 reports from the Personal Data Commission, Amsterdam between the years 2017 to 2020, to gain insights on the latter. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis. From the interviews, three main themes emerged about the respondents’ concerns and actions over the use of their (geo)data: 1) Safety and Convenience Trump Privacy; 2) Awareness of Datafication Shapes Perceived Risk; and 3) Consent is Subject to Power Dynamics in Urban Datafication. The city reports, however, have limited response to the concerns identified. I critically look at this asymmetry in concerns and response through the lens of data justice. Based on these findings, I argue that a city needs more than mere data collection to support its marginalized community; the city must acknowledge and address the unequal power dynamics to build a just and inclusive datafied city.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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