Adventures in city data: An ethnographic story
This GCRO Occasional Paper presents an ethnographic account of a decade-long journey in city economic data collation. The paper recounts the collaborations of the National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme (CSP) with Statistics South Africa, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), to collate anonymised and geocoded data that would enable an alternative mapping of the space economies of South African cities. Despite many practical and governance constraints, the collaborations ultimately bore fruit in the establishment of a secure administrative data centre at the National Treasury. This in turn led to the milestone publication of the 2021 City Spatial Economic Data Reports. This ethnographic account concludes by reflecting on possibilities for further improving the integrity of this vital city spatial economic data resource, and to enhance its use in credible, evidence-based urban analysis.
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