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  3. Postdoc on Urbidata: ethics for the (open) data driven city

Postdoc on Urbidata: ethics for the (open) data driven city

Data ethics for the city of 2050

7 dagen geleden


Julianalaan, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 3637 - € 4978 per maand


Your research will mainly concern the following research question: how can the city of 2050 be designed in a data ethical manner?

Practically the following sub-questions should be answered:
• what role can data play in the city of 2050?
• which ethical preconditions (the Ten Data Commandments) can be distinguished?
• how can which data (from public parties, private parties, citizens, and others) be used by which users, for what purposes, at what time?
• how open can / should this data be to meet the ethical preconditions?
• how do we check the data? (checking for bad quality data, or incorrect / manipulated data)
• how can the identity of the citizen concerned be guaranteed?

Data has always played a role in the design, layout and use of the city. Rational decisions can be made and choices can be substantiated based on data and models. In recent years, digitization made a major impact in this field. Often referred to as the "smart city", collecting and analyzing Big Data is seen as a solution to ever-current issues. However, the direction that this application is taking in shaping the built environment and urban life is not only a question of technological possibilities, legal frameworks and policy considerations. It is also about, or perhaps even primarily, ethical questions, because choices have to be made.
Sennett (Building and Dwelling, 2018), introduced the typology of the 'prescriptive smart city' and the 'coordinating smart city'. In the first, digital technology and big data are used to gain full control over the urban environment, offering the perspective of a safe, risk-free, city, which - from the perspective of the data analyst - is optimally planned, with services and products that are tailored to the personal profile of the individual city dweller. A profile as determined on the basis of the available data, but using non-transparent methods. This can be referred to as a "closed" data driven city. On the other side of the spectrum we find the coordinating smart city, digital technology forms the basis on which the city dweller can make choices. It is therefore also a basis for creativity, cooperation. This can also be referred to as the "open" data-driven city.
Open means that developments are coordinated from the bottom up and that there remains room for chance. Open also means that there is complete transparency, in all relations between the public sector, the citizen and the private sector. In this way, citizens keep a grip on (spatial) developments, and are actively involved in the design and functioning of the city, with full transparency regarding the process and the choices made therein. Open data plays therefore a key role as driver of Urbidata: the sustainable open city of 2050.


Applicants must have
• a proven background in social science, with a strong profile in ethics, and an affinity with (geo)data and urban challenges;
• hold a PhD degree in an appropriate discipline;
• have teaching experience at university level;
• be committed to research excellence, evidenced through academic publications;
• possess good communication skills;
• access to an international network in ethics and urban studies;
• a strong publication profile.

In addition, the candidate is expected to have an international profile with an active international network. Demonstrated ability in written and spoken English is required. Knowledge of Dutch is welcome, but not required at the start of the position.


Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Bastiaan van Loenen, Associate-professor, email: b.vanloenen@tudelft.nl, tel: 31(0)152782554.
For information about the selection procedure, please contact Jeannine Wellink, HR-Adviseur, email: HR-BK@tudelft.nl.

Your application should contain:
• a letter outlining your motivation for this position;
• your detailed CV;
• a list of publications;
• a portfolio (max 20 pages);
• the names of two references.

All documents should be in clear English and compiled into a single pdf file named: lastname_firstname_vacancynumber.pdf.

Please send your application by email to HR-BK@tudelft.nl by 9 June 2020 at the latest.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


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