Beyond density: New insights from big data computation and social sensing in urban science

PEAK Briefing

Time and space measures of urban metrics could transform our way of understanding cities in the era of big data computation. Conventionally, density (for example, in terms of population, buildings or roads) has been used to describe the built environment in urban development. However, as urban expansion continues and urban structure becomes more complex, density itself can no longer provide a comprehensive measure of cities. In this briefing, we describe how the new urban sciences facilitate more nuanced descriptions of the urban morphology through which cities are compared. Our research explores which metrics – both static and dynamic – are most appropriate to reflect urban characteristics instead of density. We also use new data sources to explore how people feel about their city in different times and places.

ChengHe Guan
Michael Keith
City Governance