Data Map study to show direction to more livable cities

Data driven smart cities

Spatial-temporal analytics and online data visualisation to help create more livable cities

A Monash Warwick Alliance funded project is using spatial-temporal analytics and online data visualisation to explore how cities can function more effectively to improve safety, liveability and social equity.

The project will analyse urban big data sets including age, ethnicity, income and traffic accident information across Melbourne and London to create a picture of how the cities function.

Once complete, the open source data findings will be publicly available as an easily accessible, interactive, web-based tool that could be used for educational, research and public outreach purposes, including assisting policy makers and agencies to prepare, intervene and respond to improve urban safety and public health and welfare.

The project is headed by Dr Meead Saberi and Dr Majid Sarvi from Monash University, Dr Emma Uprichard from the University of Warwick and Dr Naru Shiode from King's College London, formerly of the University of Warwick.

While the data sets may seem disparate Dr Saberi explains they interlink to create a picture of how a city functions and the services and supports that may be needed.

“There is actually a relationship between these things – for instance age and traffic accidents, teenage drivers and senior citizens are more likely to be involved in an accident for example," he said.

"But if you put all the data together: age, ethnicity, income, household characteristics, transport accidents, all being mapped you get a wonderful picture of your city.

"If we can understand the correlations and how things affect each other, it could lead to an urban revival at an individual and at a policy-making level."

Dr Shiode has a focus on spatial analytics and is interested in aging and ethnicity and the impacts this has on access to public services such as health care.

“Being able to extract useful findings is crucial to making cities smarter and empowering new civic movements, changing the way citizens experience urban life,” he said.

The aim for the team is to create open data that is easy to access and use by all.

“My main goal is that every single person has access to the data and it may prompt us all to think about how we live and maybe that will lead to change.

"I’d also like planners and policy makers to use the data as decision-making and support tools in their day-to-day work, for instance if Council’s are looking at the bike accident maps that will help them decide where to put new bike lanes,” Dr Saberi said.

“If we can convey a pattern that we can extract from these data sets, it becomes meaningful and of interest to the general public." 

The researchers cite the Monash Warwick Alliance as key to their collaboration.

“If it was not for the opportunity with the Monash Warwick Alliance we would not have started this collaboration. It has provided a critical push,” Dr Shiode said.

“Encouraging international collaboration is a key benefit because that’s what the world needs to do, to be more and more collaborative, certainly in research between disciplines and between countries.” 

Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash University and the University of Warwick.