ISSUES2015 No.1
Editor’s Note: It is undeniable that we are now in the era of big data. With thanks to the sustained and outstanding advancement of information and computer technologies, a massive volume of data on individuals and every aspect of the society can be collected and processed through different ways and via different devices, which could never be done before with traditional technologies. This brings about great opportunities of innovation for both the academic research and policy-making in various aspects of the society. This can be proved by the facts that, in recent years, there have been more and more institutes set up and more and more conferences held in China, which are engaged in the research and education of big data. In the field of urban planning, big data also becomes a very fashionable hot topic. It is broadly referred to as a tool of analyzing spatial development and supporting the decision-making on spatial development. For example, with the big data collected from the intelligent cards of public transportation, mobile phones, GPS navigators, and other high-tech devices, more accurate and comprehensive analyses can be made scientifically on personal behaviors and socio-economic activities and presented vividly in a visualized way, which can then be used to support any decision-making on the policies of transportation and spatial development. Sometimes, the role of big data is even exaggerated to have the halo of panacea which is expected to be capable of dealing with any problem of urban development. However, it should be clearly recognized that, no matter how massive the big data is, it can only reflect a part of the reality, rather than the whole, and what matters are the results of big data analyses, rather than the big data itself. Thus, the values and logics to guide and uphold the analyses of big data are more important, as any value distortion or logical deviation may lead to unreasonable results of big data analyses, which may further influence the scientificity of decision-making. It is sure that big data itself would never lead to a better city and it is always the values of people which determine the future of city.

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