Smart City, Big Data, Little People: A Case Study on Istanbul’s Public Transport Data

Kizilkaya E., RIZVANOĞLU K., GÜNEY H. S.

Future of Information and Communication Conference, FICC 2024, Berlin, Germany, 4 - 05 April 2024, vol.921 LNNS, pp.57-75 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 921 LNNS
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-3-031-54053-0_5
  • City: Berlin
  • Country: Germany
  • Page Numbers: pp.57-75
  • Keywords: Actor-network theory, Data governance, Geographical information systems, Human-computer interaction, Smart cities, Urban studies
  • Galatasaray University Affiliated: Yes


Over the course of two years, a team of researchers collaborated with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) in a joint research endeavor. The project aimed to leverage a substantial 30-gigabyte dataset containing information on more than 265 million mass transit journeys to serve public interest, with a particular emphasis on enhancing the urban experience of international students through locative media applications. This article presents a case study on communication that explores the intricate and evolving network of both human and non-human actors involved, employing Actor-Network Theory (ANT), a sociological approach designed to study relationships within heterogeneous networks. Fundamental methodological principles of ANT - agnosticism, generalized symmetry, and free association - were utilized to decipher the “moments of translation”. The article proceeds to discuss a unique set of observed effects specific to the context of a developing country's “fraying” metropolis, its distinct “buffer mechanisms”, and its patron-client network relations. It concludes by proposing the integration of the concept of affordances to enhance ANT critically and further the cause of public interest-oriented urban co-governance of Big Data.