Everyone is talking about big data these days, and why urban planners should be left behind. And I think it is a good thing that big data is being used by urban planner to design and develop smart cities.

I this post I will give you an update what is happening on this front and what are the resources available to you if you want to explore further.

MIT Sensable Cities Lab is leading the on going research on this topic. They have done some interesting work in terms of data visualization and urban planning. Most of the research works are done using vast system of cameras, communication devices, microcontrollers and sensors. The data collected are then visualized and it gives a powerful tool and new ways to imagine, monitor, and understand cities.

I suggest looking at their work on mapping public space usage over time in Germany using camera sensors here. This workshop was held by the MIT Senseable City Lab, in collaboration with the Austrian Institute of Technology, participants experimented with changing public spaces with the help of image processing, environmental sensors, and social media analysis.

Another interesting project is UrbanSim by University of California, Berkeley. It is a software-based simulation system for supporting planning and analysis of urban development, incorporating the interactions between land use, transportation, the economy, and the environment. They are doing a lot in terms of using data to predict and measure how cities will look and function in the next few decades.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has done a great job in collecting US Census Data from all metropolitan areas, measuring housing and transportation costs relative to income. The project is called The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, and is an innovative tool that measures the true affordability of housing based on its location.

Empirical State Building is a project by Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, which is dedicated to urban informatics.

I have listed below some of the resources for you to explore this topic further. 

Further Reading:
MIT SENSEble Cities Lab
The Center for Neighborhood and Technology
Spatial Information Design Lab, Columbia University
The H+T Affordability Index 2011
Stamen Design
City Protocol
SimCity Developer Blog
UrbanSim Project
IBM Smarter Cities

My question is how can urban planners use big data to plan smart and sustainable developments that make financial sense. Do you have any ideas? Use the comment section below.

I have a FREE gift for you

Do you want FREE Beginners' Guide to Real Estate Financial Terms?

Download the ebook now

Beginners' Guide to Real Estate Financial Terms