Recent developments in the global positioning system (GPS) and the global system for mobile communications have enabled an increasingly simple and cost-effective tracking of human activity in urban areas through the use of mobile telephony for the collection of vast amounts of location-based data. From an urban design perspective, location-based datasets concerning collective or individual spatial behaviour in urban areas are highly interesting. By combining the data with existing information on urban elements such as the location of plazas, shops, etc., infinitely detailed mappings of the interplay between users’ individual behaviours and urban elements can be gathered, but this requires accessible ways of representation. Further questions should address other, value-based choices concerning urban design. In the following we demonstrate a number of ways in which the collected data enable statistical analysis of urban activity, such as citizens’ time spent in various locations. More complex analyses are also undertaken by breaking down the data into male and female cohorts and specific activities at several places of interest. We aim to demonstrate that urban designers are now able to utilize such studies as the basis for the regeneration of urban areas.
Musings: An Urban Design Anthology, 2012, p. 74-85