The economic and political situation of cities has shifted in recent years in light of rapid growth amidst infrastructure decline, the suburbanization of poverty and inner city revitalization. At the same time, the way that data are used to understand urban systems has changed dramatically. Urban Analytics offers a field-defining look at the challenges and opportunities of using new and emerging data to study contemporary and future cities through methods including GIS, Remote Sensing, Big Data and Geodemographics. Written in an accessible style and packed with illustrations and interviews from key urban analysts, this is a groundbreaking new textbook for students of urban planning, urban design, geography, and the information sciences.

Sensing the City

Sensing the City

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter students will understand the following:

  • There are many different types of data collected within urban contexts.
  • Data can record activity, attributes and dynamics over a range of spatio-temporal scales.
  • Data are generated organically, as a byproduct of our daily lives, or through purposeful data collection processes.
  • Sensors and social media complement traditional sources and are generating an increasing amount of new data about urban areas.

Thinking about Cities through Data

The composition, dynamics, and complexity of cities can be understood at multiple scales. At one scale a city can be conceptualized as a single entity, for example, we might want to say something about Los Angeles or Sao Paolo. However, we might also be interested in talking about ...

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