Engaging with “urban science”

2019-03-12T14:22:58Z (GMT) by Ben Derudder Michiel Van Meeteren
In this Intervention we discuss possible engagements between an inherently diverse urban geography and an emergent “urban science” dealing with information technologydriven, quantitative analysis of urban data. Although initial responses from some quarters of the urban geography community have been dismissive, we highlight three ways in which urban geography could positively engage with urban science: (1) by exhibiting greater ownership of our discipline’s past and the legacy of spatial science; (2) by resisting equating post-positivism with anti-positivism; and (3) by recognizing that the inherent ability of urban science to address post-truth thinking can be a useful building block in a pluralist approach to urban geography. We contend that (a) urban geographers need to be open to the use of new urban science methods to interrogate the pressing issues of our time and (b) where appropriate, inject cautionary tales of the dangers of a naive positivism in an uncritical urban science.