The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) executive board has appointed Nanda Piersma as a Professor by Special Appointment in ‘Urban Analytics’. Her new research group strengthens the collaboration between both the AUAS Technology and Digital Media and Creative Industry faculties and CWI in Amsterdam, where Piersma will work part-time (50%). Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Urban Analytics focuses on big data analysis as a basis for new products and services that can contribute to solutions for the many challenges that Amsterdam is facing in the 21st century. Piersma’s appointment starts on 1 September 2017 and will run for four years. Regieorgaan SIA, the national body promoting practice oriented research, is co-funding this research.

In the coming decades, cities like Amsterdam will be increasingly confronted with expanding urbanisation, growth and rising population densities. These issues will present a range of challenges for these cities, for example regarding liveability, mobility, increasing energy requirements, air pollution and forms of government and cooperation. The challenge will lie in the appropriate reaction and anticipation of these issues, in which maintenance – or improvement – of the environment and sustainability are essential. The city must remain both sustainable and liveable.

New solutions
Developments in ICT and the availability of large scale information (Big Data) permit insights and enable new solutions for many urban challenges. The basis consists of measuring, storage and analysis of large volumes of data (data science), which can lead to new insights regarding (urban) environments. These insights can provide a conduit to new services and products.

The amount of data available is only set to increase in the decades to come. Therefore this research group will focus on the transfer of the data into useful information to help stimulate concrete action; action which will benefit people as end users of these products and services. Large amounts of data also have a downside, particularly when considering the security implications of personal details and the necessary transparency of these collected details. The research group will also consider the questions these issues raise.

AUAS students
Nanda Piersma (54) is well-known to AUAS. She has managed various degree programmes since her arrival in 2002. As a senior lecturer-researcher, she has been responsible for the Data Science specialisation of the bachelor’s programme in Applied Mathematics since 2014. In addition, she is responsible for the AUAS Urban Technology research group’s Urban Analytics team. The Urban Analytics research group will closely involve AUAS students in their activities in the years to come and there will be a close connection with various AUAS bachelor and masters courses.

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