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Towards a Better Understanding of Cities Using Mobility Data

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The increasing concentration of people in cities generates many problems of control in the management of resources and urban space. Urban sprawl, for example, generates serious environmental, social and economic challenges that pertain to congestion, increasing transport costs, and segregated urban environments. Making cities 'smarter' has the potential to provide a solution for handling more efficiently new sources of digital information, to gain a better understanding of urban dynamics and human mobility and last but not least, to search for more sustainable living conditions. In this context, the increasing availability of geolocated data generated by the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) provides new tools to analyse activity and mobility patterns in urban environments. In this paper, we present an overview of recent findings in empirical applications of such 'big data' to the systematic study of cities and their problems of movement. The paper concludes with a discussion on the potential of this new source of data and on how the coupling of big data analysis and computer modelling can open new horizons for the analysis of urban systems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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