Palmén Colloquium - Exploring the geographies of interest in sustainability topics using digital data

Friday, 14th OCT

Exploring the geographies of interest in sustainability topics using digital data

Ensuring the success of global sustainability efforts requires broad societal engagement and a suitable framework for monitoring relevant progress towards the targets defined in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet, our capacity to track progress in space and time is hampered by difficulties related to data availability, accuracy, and timeliness. In this context, the use of digital data is an emerging prospect to help overcome these limitations. Specifically, the availability of temporal and spatial information in data mined from social media, search engines and other digital platforms provides opportunities to assess the spatial and temporal dynamics of how people engage with sustainability topics. Using examples from recent research, I will aim to highlight the some of the prospects of using of digital data to track interest in a broad range of sustainability-related topics across time and space. I will also outline some of the challenges associated with using digital data in this context, including issues of interdisciplinarity, ethics, data biases and validation, and discuss potential research avenues that can help in addressing these challenges.

Ricardo Correia, Academy Research Fellow, University of Helsinki, ricardo.correia(AT)helsinki.fi 

 

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