In the Shadow of Darwin


Michael Batty is working on a project with colleagues from the University of Melbourne, UNC at Chapel Hill, and the Santa Fe Institute at the Galapagos Science Centre with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. They are exploring the way human populations are interacting with the natural ecosystem. The Islands are facing enormous population pressures from ecotourism and the group are modelling these interactions between the coupled human-natural systems using the science of complex adaptive systems (CAS).  Eventually they will produce a book about these pressures and their impact on the fragility of the ecosystems making suggestions for future change. The notion that the human and natural ecosystems remain in equilibrium is a convenient fiction and the idea that the Galapagos would have remained the same since Darwin’s historic landing in 1835 (described in his The Voyage of the Beagle) if no human populations had resided on the islands, is fanciful. Natural ecosystems evolve perhaps at a slower rate than human populations at least in terms of their migration, growth and change but these coupled systems pose special problems which have wide implications for cities and nature. The challenges for us all are enormous. They lie at the cutting edge of science and human affairs.

The pictures above show Darwin’s first landing site on the Galapagos Islands in 1835.

Sao Paulo, Brasil: Acessível para quem?


Joana Barros and Mike Batty write about their work on the BBC Brasil Web Site. Read their article here which is about how transport segregates people rather than linking them together in cities in Latin America such as Sao Paulo. This is from their ESRC Resolution Project with Chen Zhong and Duncan Smith where they are comparing Sao Paulo with London and working with the group at the University of Sao Paulo and INPE.

Big Data and the City

bigdatacityLook at the current issue of Built Environment. Papers from CASA and CASA alumni here as well as several others.

“Big data is everywhere, largely generated by automated systems operating in real time that potentially tell us how cities are performing and changing. A product of the smart city, it is providing us with novel data sets that suggest ways in which we might plan better, and design more sustainable environments. The articles in this issue tell us how scientists and planners are using big data to better understand everything from new forms of mobility in transport systems to new uses of social media. Together, they reveal how visualization is fast becoming an integral part of developing a thorough understanding of our cities.”

Here are the list of papers

Editorial: Big Data, Cities and Herodotus
Batty, Michael

Big Data and the City
Batty, Michael

From Origins to Destinations: The Past, Present and Future of Visualizing Flow Maps
Claudel, Matthew; Nagel, Till; Ratti, Carlo

Towards a Better Understanding of Cities Using Mobility Data
Lenormand, Maxime; Ramasco, José J.

Finding Pearls in London’s Oysters
Reades, Jonathan; Zhong, Chen; Manley, ED; Milton, Richard; Batty, Michael

A Classification of Multidimensional Open Data for Urban Morphology
Alexiou, Alexandros; Singleton, Alex; Longley, Paul A.

User-Generated Big Data and Urban Morphology
Crooks, A.T.; Croitoru, A.; Jenkins, A.; Mahabir, R.; Agouris, P.; Stefanidis, A.

Sensing Spatiotemporal Patterns in Urban Areas: Analytics and Visualizations Using the Integrated Multimedia City Data Platform
(vonu) Thakuriah, Piyushimita; Sila-Nowicka, Katarzyna; Paule, Jorge Gonzalez

Playful Cities: Crowdsourcing Urban Happiness with Web Games
Quercia, Daniele

Big Data for Healthy Cities: Using Location-Aware Technologies, Open Data and 3D Urban Models to Design Healthier Built Environments
Miller, Harvey J.; Tolle, Kristin

Improving the Veracity of Open and Real-Time Urban Data
Mcardle, Gavin; Kitchin, Rob

Wise Cities: ‘Old’ Big Data and ‘Slow’ Real Time
Carrera, Fabio

Collecting and Visualizing Real-Time Urban Data through City Dashboards
Gray, Steven; O’Brien, Oliver; Hügel, Stephan