Tuesday 26 November 2013

Luminous Cities: offering an alternative way of geotag

Image1. The webpage of Luminous Cities_Manhattan

Studying human behaviours and communication in time and space has been regarded as the important factor of modern urban planning. In this digital era, collecting online data and analysing the data provide an opportunity to understand the intention and the process of the behaviours and the communication which had not been revealed.

Geotag, which is attached on Social Network Service (SNS), is concerned as one of connecting link between the internet and urban. Mainly, there are two types of geotag. One is user-generated geotag that SNS users identify the places on their contents. The other is automatically generated with spatial coordination by the services. It represents the political, social and economic characteristics of the places as well as the physical location of the user or the data produced.

There are many good examples of mapping the geotag data of SNS. Eric Fischer’s well known mapping images reveal not only the density of the geotag data but also social aspects in cities such as the invisible dimensions of tourism in New York (Image 2). Twitter Languages in London by James Cheshire and Ed Manley shows the popularity of languages depends on different locations in London ((Image 3).

Image2. The mapping geotag data of locals and tourists by Eric Fischer 

Image3. Twitter Languages in London, James Cheshire and Ed Manley

Luminous Cities is the project to demonstrate the interactive map of Flickr geotag data supported by CASA at UCL and CSAP at the University of Leeds. It has developed by Gavin Baily and Sarah Bagshaw. The project does not remain the displaying density and distribution of the geotag, but offers in-detail contents of the geotag such as user, tag, time of the day and timeline over 50 cities in the world. With the multiple contents, Luminous Cities could be a platform to check out the geotag data of Flickr based on personal interest, and to view their cities from a different side. When it comes to Networking City, who is interested in protest and demonstration in the city, it would be a helpful tool to examine the relationship between protests or occupy tags of Flickr in London and actual events of them. Also, some interesting results may be emerging when we compare two data sets: Flickr and Twitter.

Image4. Berlin user geotag map from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image5. London occupy geotag map from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image6. Tokyo geotag map, Zoom out, from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image7. Tokyo geotag map, Zoom in, from the webpage of Luminous Cities

You can find more things from following links.
Flickr was shown as the highest growing application in 2013 by Mashable

Mapping the world with Flickr and Twitter by Guardian

Infographic Of The Day: Using Twitter And Flickr Geotags To Map The World

Sunday 10 November 2013

GIS Course Note 02: Research Application, Software and Data Sources

The second lecture of GIS comprised mainly three parts, the examples of practical research by using GIS, GIS software and the way to gain relevant data for the research.  
In the beginning, Dr. Adam Dennett, the lecturer of CASA, informed the aim of the lecture to understand the basic elements of social science research using GIS and the diverse analytical approaches with it. He showed several example maps, which are related to population, crime, deprivation, health care, flooding, and education, and the way how to read economic, social and physical characteristics from the maps and its meaning in the projects. (Image 1)

Image 1

And then, he moved to GIS software industry which has been significantly growing. As interest and the utilisation of GIS are increasing, GIS software market is expanding almost 10% every year and now it is used in all industries and public sectors such as business, public safety, military and education. The popular GIS tools: Arc GIS, MAP Info, Quantum GIS, Python and R, and specific points of each tool were introduced. Also, small description of GIS cloud and online GIS tools was following. (Image 2)

Image 2

In the last part, he said of various kinds of the data and the way of gathering the data which is the key element to proceed the research. Easily, we can classify the data according to the way of gathering. On the one hand, we can use the open data, which are provided by public sectors and other organisations. On the other hand, we need to collect the data through participation and measuring by ourselves. Some websites of the UK, which contain the open data or shapefiles, and the characteristics of each website were mentioned. As we can see Image 3, some other methods like WebScarping and Volunteered Geographic Information were shown as alternative ways to collect the data by ourselves, when the given data are unclear, and the goal of the research needs the specific data.

Image 3
The lecture was finished with the emphasis on caution when using the open data and the mapping with it. Much of the data are made with inadequate formats like pdf, or do not include any spatial reference, so we need to be careful to collect and use the data. When it came to the mapping with the data, he insisted that it is necessary to make analytical and meaningful maps rather than something fancy or colourful. In addition, it is essential to acknowledge that some errors could be made by way of ‘generalisation’ in the process of research, therefore, setting up the range and the level of the research will enrich the quality of it.
After one hour lecture, students had a training session that mapping population data on the map of London Borough with R. (Image 4)
Image 4

Wednesday 30 October 2013

GIS Course Note 01: Spatial is Special

Image 1. Dr.Adam Dennett introduced the course outline on 2nd October, 2013

From this academic term, Networking City is doing a teaching assistant role for ‘GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND SCIENCE’ course which is set up by CASA for their provocative master programme ‘MResAdvanced Spatial Analysis & Visualisation’ and Bartlett students. In this year, the course is opened to Urban Planning and DPU students of Bartlett, so thirty students registered, while fifteen students who were mostly from the CASA had an opportunity last year.

Dr. Adam Dennett, the lecturer, briefly showed the outline of the course and explained the meaning of studying spatial analysis, definition of Geographic Information System, linkage between GIS and scientific research, the difference between GISystems and GIScience, and short history of GIS.

During one hour his lecture, the most impressive part was what the meaning of information is in Geography and Urban studies, and how it can make an impact on decision making process. When he illustrated the structure of how one spatial data could be developed to information, knowledge and wisdom, and could be the initial point which change our environments, he emphasised not to make a graphic image by GIS programmes but to consider the meaning behind the data.

After the lecture, the students had two-hour practical session. They operated the main programmes of the course: Arc-GIS, QGIS and R on UCL computers, and checked how they can set up the programmes on their own laptops. In order to learn basic knowledge and functions of Arc-GIS, Adam recommended registering My Virtual CampusTraining on ESRI homepage and complete its modules.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Review: Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data

Journal of Urban Technology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2012
Designing for the situated and public visualisation of urban data
by Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill

THE authors point out recent urban data visualisation still remains on the stage of simply providing statistical data, and it is ineffective to make better understanding about the interaction of the massive and complex urban data. They argue public policy should be changed to open more public data, which are including local characteristics, to raise public awareness and encourage actionable public participation.

Through five main parts; theoretical part (data and public visualisation) – Recent projects – Student projects – characteristics of urban visualisation – conclusion, this article draws the question and tries to answer against how we can visualise the complex and continuously changing condition of cities, where have different problems by particular factors in different parts within a city, and how we can expect the unpredictable condition in the information age.

The authors premise that the character of place has been formulated by economic and cultural patterns based on the rock of physical and geographical aspects, and these patterns adversely facilitate the physical change.  In the past, the production of the place represented the specific character of the place, and it had coupled with the regional change. However, since cities have transformed their industry from material based to knowledge based, they have been showing the movement of hominization. This paper argues that the character of the city in this era can be revealed by the data, which are endlessly producing in the city, and we can find the difference between cities by the analysis of the data.  Therefore, the urban data is not an indicator of urban activities but also the driving force leading qualitative changing of the urban environment.

Particularly, previous data unilaterally delivered statistical data of urban areas, but recent the urban data stimulate active participation of citizen by well-developed mobile devices and illustrate what feedbacks are creating by the citizen. And the authors emphasize the following elements are essential to visualise the urban data.  
1) Situated : contextual, local, social
2) Informative: feedback, insightful, consistent
3) Functional: medium, participate, opportunistic, aesthetic, trustworthy, persuasive

Despite a lot of attractive contents, the most impressive point in the article is the well-organised logical flow of what they use; Neo-industrial city (production of data) - open data (role of public data) - social visualisation (impact of data) – urban computing (technological integration) - urban scene (combination of data & urban environment), to explain the meaning of data in this period, its social role and the combination with the physical environment. When we consider the vague use and weak logical connection of the concepts surrounding the data and urban areas, it is a profound approach. This article reminds us to make a coherent structure and clear correlation is an critical issue to set up the base of opinion and to insist it by writing.

To cite this article: Andrew Vande Moere & Dan Hill (2012) Designing for the Situated and Public Visualization of Urban Data, Journal of Urban Technology, 19:2, 25-46

Thursday 19 September 2013

The World Protests by GDELT


Image 1. All GDELT protest data for 2013. The image was captured from GDELT's work. (See below)

Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) is a remarkable organisation to provide, freely, the data of all human behaviours, particularly protest, over the world since 1979. They are trying to make "real-time social sciences earth observatory" by updating the data every day. It is running by three researchers, Kalev Leetaru, Philip Schrodt and Patrick Brandt. 
If you visit their website and their blog, you would be surprised by their enormous data set as well as effective and nice visualisation. For example, recent GDELT’s work is showing protest movement in 2013. (Image 1) This interactive map illustrates how many protests have been raising in the world a year including Egypt, Brazil and Turkey, and we can recognise that the flame of protests are covering the world even though the data would not report all hidden protests.
Image 2. Syria's civil war. The image was captured from GDELT's work. (See below) 
Another map describes the terrific condition of Syria’s civil war in detail. (Image 2) Visualising the location, the number of violence per day and the period of the civil war together warns us how the situation is significant much more than just some sentences and images of broadcasting news. It was issued on The Guardian.  
However, the most important thing is their continuous effort to collect the data, sort it out and provide the valuable data for further research. Opening the data might not be an easy decision and it would be a extremely time-consuming work.
After visiting the website of GDELT, Networking City understood the importance of open data, its impacts and the power of visualisation, and promised to work hard and being more opened.

Monday 16 September 2013

Going to Cambridge for Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference

Image1. The poster of Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference.
LAST month, Networking City submitted an application for the conference: Cinematic Urban Geographies which is organised by CRASSH, University of Cambridge. The conference tries to understand urban characteristics through cinema. The proposal ‘The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map’ was accepted and originally scheduled in a session on ‘cinematic cityscapes within social& cultural practices’. But it was recently relocated in the session of ‘'film as sites as memories'. 

During the presentation, Networking City will be introducing that we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy by mapping our daily route on the map, and it can imply various social aspects. The abstract is following.  

Image2. The image was captured in the movie of 'The Introduction of Architecture'

The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map

It does not require much effort to rediscover our city in the ordinary, everyday city of others. When we draw our daily route on a map, every space I walk in the city re-emerges with spatial organisations, street scenes, movements and sounds. Through the act of mapping, hidden experiences and activities in the city become a small part of the city and accumulate as a social and cultural layers within it. 

The plot of ‘The Introduction of Architecture’, released in 2012, shows a love story between young university students who meet in a class called ‘Introduction of Architecture’. In the movie, a lecturer asks students to draw their commuting routes – from their homes to the university, which is located in the old centre of Seoul – on a map. When the hero marks his route, he finds his way already underlined by the heroine.

The following are some themes that the movie reveals to us: first of all, through a simple action like drawing a line on the map, we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy. The line illustrates not only the sense of the same social backgrounds, but also the possibility of collective memory with others. Secondly, the movie hints at the growing regional inequality within Seoul by the admiration of the hero, who lives in the old city centre – which is relatively underdeveloped – contrasting it with the wealth and upper-class lifestyle of the southern part of Seoul that people call Gangnam. 

Friday 26 July 2013

Free Range exhibition & Welsh School of Architecture Exhibition

Image1.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

FREE Range exhibition had opened its door at Truman Brewery on Brick Lane where is a cultural headquarter of London. This exhibition was for undergraduate courses of fashion, design, photography & media, fine art and interior & architecture over the UK. It was started in 2001 and has been getting a reputation for one of famous cultural event in London. In this year, fashion courses kicked off their exhibition from May 31and interior & architecture courses ran its show from June 11 to 15. Twenty five universities across the country, including Glasgow, Dundee, LCC, Westminster and Manchester, set up their own booths and unfolded their ideas, talents and capacities. The universities might want to get a chance to show off their students into the largest market London in this disastrous recession.

Image2.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image3.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image4.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City


Image5.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image6.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image7.Free range Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

 The works of Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Cardiff University was awesome and highly recommended from many architects who work in London. Although it is hard to compare directly to other universities because WSA exhibition consisted by the projects of masters’ students while others were bachelors’, seven units of WSA might not fall behind other schools in London. In fact, WSA was ranked as the second best department in GuardianUniversity Guide 2014 and they marked the same position with AA School in the list of the UK best architectureschool surveyed by Architects' Journal.

Image8.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image9.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image10.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image11.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image12.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

Image13.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City


Image14.WSA Exhibition place. The image was taken by Networking City

When it comes to me, the works of ‘Unit 7: Infrastructural Urbanism’, which explore reorganizing local identity in the process of changing urban industries, were particularly impressive. Usually, when we proceed urban design projects, we start first to overview macro urban structures, its development history, and regional issues and so on. Then, we reach the level of urban and architecture design what should make balances between abstract urban policy & specific physical design, macro urban patterns & micro human behaviours and economic feasibility & public value by design quality. At this point, lots of conflicts would be emerging, and it should be hard to reach agreeable point. Furthermore, when the work frame is changed such as from urban design to architecture design, logical connections between different types and scales of works would be weakened. We can say it as ‘logical jumping’. Networking City understands Unit 7 admitted the jumping could be appeared, however; they might try to know what the jumping would be there and how they could minimize the jumping at each development phase.

Elizabeth Venning’s work, Supportive infrastructures: Affordances between the DVLA and its locality at different scales, which examines new possibility of massive district of DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) in Swansea City, well shows the characteristics of this unit. She investigates the way of redefining the physical and social relationship between DVLA area and local people through transforming and reorganizing some DVLA’s buildings and its programmes. In order to provide an effective strategy, she finds that there are six different levels including National scale, Regional scale and Household Scale behind the integrated complexity and each level has relevant policies, rules and orders that impact on the site. All policies, rules and orders at each level are analysed by Venning, and inter-relationship between levels and response plan are proposed with building plans in detail. 

If you want to know more about Welsh School of Architecture and their exhibition, please visit this link.

Image15. Elizabeth Venning’s work. The image was taken by Networking City

Image16. Venning’s diagram shows six different systems of the site. The image was taken by Networking City
Image17. Models and panels of WSA. The image was taken by Networking City


Friday 12 July 2013

CASA Seminar: Parameterizing land use planning by Talia Kaufmann

Image1.Talia Kaufmann gave the presentation at CASA Lunchtime Seminar. The image was taken by Networking City.

On 10th July 11, 2013, CASA Lunch Seminar was commenced in The Rockefeller Building. Talia Kaufmann, who is a visiting student from MIT Master in City Planning, provided her current research ‘Parameterizing land use planning’. After she finished her bachelor degree in Architecture Tel-Aviv University, Israel and worked as an urban planner for the Tel Aviv-Yafo City Planning Department.

Throughout the presentation, she showed brilliant ideas and cool images. Also, some arguable points were emerging in her presentation, and the considerable discussion between audiences and Talia was continued.

For example, one of her main idea is to randomly capture Google Street View images from several targeting cities and ask people to answer their sense of images. And it becomes the score of each city. The audiences questioned about the precondition of the idea. Can we measure the feeling of the city by just watching some images? Would there be the gap between the feeling of Street View images and the true feeling of cities? Is there any delicate setting for cultural backgrounds and individual subjectivity of participants?

This seminar could be a good opportunity for her to listen others’ comments, articulate the ideas and develop many possibilities of her research.

Monday 1 July 2013



Image1. The entrance of the exhibition (The image is taken by Networking City)
The architecture students’ works of Royal College of Art revealed at their annual exhibition ‘Show RCA 2013’ from June 20 to June 30. Except fashion design which already opened its show on May 29, there are two exhibition areas where are Kensington and Battersea for 10 departments of RCA. The department of Architecture has its own exhibition place in Battersea with Applied art, Fine art, Photography and so on.
The exhibition place looked an old warehouse, therefore, the weird tension between rough feeling of the old building and innovative works of the students generates a marvelous atmosphere.
Image 2. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
As I looked around six studios’ works, it was coming to me that the works of RCA students are pushing beyond the realm of architecture with the imaginary and creativeness of the students rather than being sustained in it. Some students show very architectural drawings, some works might suit to consider as fine art or sculpture, and it would be possible to meet some works at the exhibition of video art.
Image 3. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 4. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 5. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 6. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
 Like the exhibition of The Bartlett which this blog introduced before, ( )
this exhibition gave an opportunity to clearly understand that architectural thoughts can be shown with multiple media including videos, 3d displays and installations which were set up in the exhibition place as the works and rooms for watching videos.
Image 7. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 8. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 9. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 10. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 11. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 12. The exhibition place of RCA (The image is taken by Networking City)
Alexander Turner ( ) suggests the simple and strong ‘wall’ for East Sussex against indiscreet urban sprawl. This plan of housing and public space for 2000 inhabitants, which might fall under the influence of Dogma ( ), is outstanding among many works.  
Image 13. The work of Alexander Turner (The image is taken by Networking City)
Environmental issue is spotlighted here again. One student provides an interesting idea to purify air pollution of London by transforming BT tower into a filtering facility in the worst polluted area in London. This work was introduced on Dezeen last week and has been paid attention from international readers.
Image 14. The work of Changyeob Lee (The image is taken by Networking City)
In fact, it was more impressive when we visited other exhibition areas after the department of architecture. The quality level of the works of fine art, photography and sculpture students is easily over the normal level of masters’ students, therefore, it would not be strange if we meet these works at museums in London with professional artworks. In addition, buildings and working facilities for students look very nice to do something creative.     
Image 15. The exhibition of Applied Art (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 16. The exhibition of Sculpture (The image is taken by Networking City)
Image 17. The exhibition of Fine art (The image is taken by Networking City)
Echo Morgan’s works ( ), which were displayed in the area of printmaking, are distinctive to provide multiple and complex faces that can be variously interpreted. She intended to show the vital force of vulnerable human body when a fragile woman’s body is accompanied with brutal metal balls. Furthermore, the photo, which captured the scene of a tree with the same metal balls in ruined industrial landscape, is planned to illustrate the vulnerability and vitality of nature as well as the coupling of the human body and nature. When it comes to me, the metal balls, which were firstly close to the sight, underline the human body and the ruined landscape, which are actually the background of the photos, therefore, the tension between figure and background creates the enormous power for being these photos lively.  
Image 18. The work of Echo Morgan (The image is taken from Echo Morgan's website)
Image 19. The work of Echo Morgan (The image is taken from Echo Morgan's website)
Image 20. The work of Echo Morgan (The image is taken from Echo Morgan's website)