Notes for today’s talk at the NLA’s conference on “How do we build a smarter London”
The London context:
– more people (growing population)
– more data (sensors everywhere)
– more sophisticated computing.
Strategic problem: how to handle it all.
Space Syntax’s experience: address the problem via “the questions of reality”.
The commercial application of Space Syntax research was catalysed by approaches from London residents in the early/mid 1980s eg Limehouse Basin, South Bank, King’s Cross: citizens groups opposing property developments they saw as being alien to London life. Today we work for those developers as well as community groups. Developers have learned to “get it”.
Data and computing create an art of the possible (sometimes the seemingly impossible too eg the wonderful Pigeon Sim). Pass the art of the possible through the filter of reality/market demand. Then it’s possible to make sense of it all – to know what to do.
The questions asked by our clients are the necessary filter.
Then evolve the technology according to new and difficult questions.
This is what we had to do to understand Trafalgar Square – we’d never studied such a complex open space before.
Technology by necessity.
Cities planning their future are increasingly turning to the production of Integrated Urban Models. These are tools that bring together various datasets on different asoects of urban performance, from the behaviour of people to the flows of energy, water and other utilities. The aim is to better predict the future of cities by better understanding how they are currently working.
This is a nascent but rapidly developing field in which knowledge is emerging and evolving at a pace. Given the complexity of cities it is a good idea to involve many specialists in different subjects, led by an Urban Modelling Advisory Panel (UrbanMAP). Continue reading Building a Smart City modelling team
Summary of Tim Stonor’s talk at the World Cities Summit, Singapore, 3rd June 2014
From cities of movement to places of transaction – a new mobility focus for city leaders, planners and everyday users
Key responsibilities for cities
1. Imagining the future of cities and mobility.
2. Designing integrated, people-focused planning to sustain cities.
3. Measuring the social, economic and environmental value created by the movement, interaction and transaction of people.
The fundamental purpose of cities
Cities are for transaction: economic and social transaction. People come to cities to trade. It is why we have cities – they are intensifications of opportunities to trade. The public realm of the city – its network of streets and spaces – is where much of this trade occurs: a “transaction machine” which, like any machine, is more or less efficient depending on how it is engineered. Continue reading From cities of movement to places of transaction
Digital Urbanism has two key components:
That organisations and individuals are involved in the creation, collection, visualisation and analysis of data, leading to the creation, through computing, of modelling tools and predictive analytics. This kind of activity is now central to the operations of public and private organisations. It is no longer peripheral.
2. Human behaviour
That people now think about places online as well as places on land; that cyberspace is as real as physical space; that networked computing means we have moved beyond the single chatroom and into the interconnected “place-web”.
These, I believe, are the twin aspects of Digital Urbanism and, of the two, the second is the primus inter pares because human behaviour patterns should drive computing activities.
I’m sure you’re right about the link between street morphology and attractiveness to business. Centres seem to do one of three things through time. They either:
1. consolidate and grow (London, Paris)
2. move (Jeddah)
3. implode (Sunderland).
Oh, and some places:
4. never have a functioning centre (Skelmersdale, UK New Towns) because they were designed in ignorance of the importance of a) grid continuity and b) multi-scale centrality – properties measured by Space Syntax models
5. divide and reunite (Berlin) but we can’t blame the architects for that!
Email to Paul Swinney at the Centre for Cities
Information on the campaign against the painting of yellow lines across Faversham town centre has moved to a new blog.
Thank you for all the support so far!