Maynooth University professor secures €2.4m European award for property data research

Project will chart all the property-related data produced by state agencies, industry and NGOs and how they are used
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Prof Rob Kitchin, Maynooth University

27 April 2022

Maynooth University researcher, Prof Rob Kitchin has been awarded a €2.4 million European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for his property data project. As part of the project, Prof Kitchin will document property data for Dublin and examine how the data is used as an evidence base for public policy, planning, and commercial decision-making.

Property and planning data is key to how cities are understood and managed. It informs government policy, shapes public perception, and guides billions of euros of investment relating to land use and development, public and private housing, homelessness, commercial real estate, and infrastructure.

The award will enable Prof Kitchin and his team to examine closely how property data are collected by different agencies such as government departments, homeless organizations, real-estate companies, and local authorities.

 

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Charting a full property and planning data ecosystem in forensic detail for a city has not been undertaken to date and the study will provide important new insights into the collection, sharing, and the usage of planning and property data by various stakeholders.

The project, titled ‘Data Stories: Producing stories about and with property and planning data’, will use the existing data to tell stories about property and planning in Ireland, while engagement from key state, business and civic society stakeholder organisations with creative writers and artists will encourage reflection on the current system.

While the project will focus on Dublin city, the novel approach being developed will be applicable to other cities, both in Ireland and abroad.

Prof Kitchin, of the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, said: “Improving property and planning policy and decision-making requires a strong evidence-base. A holistic, detailed understanding of Irish property data will be of benefit to government, business and local communities in helping to address the various planning and housing challenges Dublin faces.

“This grant will help me to map out existing data, showcase where gaps are, and document how the data is and can be used to shape the property landscape.”

This is the second time that Prof Kitchin has been awarded an Advanced ERC grant, and it will enable him to build a new research team consisting of four researchers, two creative writers and two artists at Maynooth.

ERC frontier research grants are the most prestigious single Principal Investigator-based funding mechanism in the Horizon Europe.  The Advanced grant is long-term funding for ground-breaking, high-risk projects for “exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions”.

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. European Research Council Advanced Grants provide long-term funding for ground-breaking, high-risk projects.

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