About Michael Batty

I chair CASA at UCL which I set up in 1995. I am Bartlett Professor In UCL.

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

Theoretical Filters

spam-filters-work

Science celebrates the goal of parsimony. Occam’s razor and all that. Indeed I wrote an editorial about this a few years ago in 2010 (click here). The idea rests on assumptions that our best theories are those that strip away that which is superfluous to our purpose and generates ideas that are as “… simple as possible but not too simple” as Einstein reportedly said. The trouble with cities and their planning is that we have a surfeit of theories and many seem plausible. One way of proceeding is to define their essence and in this editorial, I focus on how we might do this in many different ways. One way is to take out of any theory that which is obvious, that which is geometrically or physically determined prior to the events involved and James S. Coleman in 1964 called this The Method of Residues in his seminal text Introduction to Mathematical Sociology (New York: Free Press of Glencoe). In essence, he suggested that it is in the ‘residues’ – the residuals – where we will find enlightenment and only when the obvious has been removed will we be in a position to explore the non-obvious.  One way of progressing theory is to produce synthetic data, to look at idealised situations, and search for enlightenment in these. Virtual realities help in this but so do speculations about future cities. There are many suggestions and in this editorial, we suggest how these theoretical filters can enable us to get the best out of theory and to test what is best theory. Read on. You can also retrieve the editorial by clicking on the above image.

20 years of quantitative geographical thinking

cybergeo

In 1996, Denise Pumain set up the online journal Cybergeo . When she first proposed this the web was in its infancy and I remember thinking that this was a very high-risk proposal in a world where the notion that we might communicate our ideas across wide-area networks was still a novelty. In 1986, email was virtually unheard of apart from a few geeks like ourselves who used computers in universities that were beginning to be networked to each other as well as connecting to the rest of the world through arcane but perfectly workable yet slow email systems such as BitNet ……. Fast forward 20 years and on 26 May 2016 (see http://cybergeo2016.sciencesconf.org/), I found myself in Paris with Helen Couclelis at the 20th anniversary of Cybergeo with both of us delivering celebratory speeches on the fact that not only had the journal survived for two decades but it had flourished as well. Only in hindsight can we say that it was a model for many other journals and in one very positive sense, it was in the vanguard of traditional hard copy journals which have fast moved during this time to the Cybergeo model …..

The world of publishing is changing dramatically – read my editorial in Environment and Planning B which covers the full impact of the online world and how we might communicate our ideas in the future.