Future Built on Knowledge

The Data and Life of Great Future Cities

November 7, 2018

The Roca London Gallery is hosting an exhibition, based on Marco De Nadai and MOBS @ FBK research activities. It proposes that, used responsibly, personal data could be the key to better urban design

The Roca London Gallery is a space designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, an evolving experience related to design, innovation, sustainability and wellbeing values. It hosts social and cultural events, exhibitions and installations.

From 15 September 2018 to 26 January 2019 it hosts a free exhibition entitled ”THE DATA AND LIFE OF GREAT FUTURE CITIES”. It is inspired by the iconic 1961 book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“, by pioneering urbanist, activist and writer Jane Jacobs. In it, controversially without extensive evidence gathering, Jacobs managed to identify the four conditions required for successful city planning, or the “four generators of diversity”. Her theories have now been proved uncannily accurate by a team of researchers at University of Trento, led by Marco De Nadai, whose work will be part of the Roca London Gallery show. De Nadai’s development of a much cheaper and quicker alternative to the lengthy and costly collection of survey data, or studies of pedestrian activity, uses a new generation of city databases – such as OpenStreetMap and Foursquare – combined with mobile-phone records, showing the number and frequency of calls in an area, to identify a city’s most vibrant areas. This new methodology is groundbreaking for city planning as it offers an evidence-based, objective toolkit for assessing aspects such as quality, vitality and diversity of city life. Rather than relying on a satellite-style view, we’re now able to understand how a city works from street level up, providing an empirical way into what Jacobs called “the adventure of probing the real world.

Can data collection actually be good for us? Does the future of human-centered urban design lie in big data?

A number of evening events, open to the public, will be organized to coincide with the exhibition.

Enjoy London and visit the exhibition! 


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