AbstractDespite the unprecedentedly growing discussion of big data generated in urban environments and the widespread use of so-called urban big data (UBD) in recent years, there has been no consensus or widely accepted definition of UBD. Existing UBD studies have been either case-specific or applied in specific planning domains, such as transportation or tourism planning. A comprehensive exploration of the definitions of UBD in urban planning and related fields is timely and vital. This study is a systematic review of recent literature, consolidating 49 UBD definitions from 48 published articles in 39 journals, and classifying them into four themes: characteristics, sources, analytics, and impact. We found that most definitions are not given in an urban context and do not differentiate UBD from big data in a general sense. It is difficult to arrive at a one-size-fits-all definition of what constitutes UBD. Instead, the fourfold classification of UBD definitions allows us to identify three essential qualities of UBD that differentiate UBD from general big data and benefit urban studies: refinement of both spatiotemporal features and individual attributes at the microlevel, and the capacity and impact to depict, predict, and manage cities. We also identified three categories of challenges imposed on urban planning. This study serves as a starting point for a comprehensive understanding of UBD and contributes to expanding the discussion of UBD definitions and opportunities that UBD opens up in urban planning, facilitating better city management in the future.

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