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Publication Detail
Geography 2.0: can 'big,' 'open' data inform design?
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    Geographic Representation Now
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    Harvard Graduate School of Design
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We appear to be at a moment of transition between mapping as the a select few, and an era of openness in which the public becomes sophisticated in the creation and interpretation of geographical representations. Although this change may discomfit some in the design disciplines, it also represents an enormous opportunity to engage with the public in new ways: spatial and temporal 'literacy', especially through visualisation, offers new avenues for connecting individual activity to societal outcomes. Drawing in part on my own research using telecommunications and transportation data, I will highlight some the early findings from this exciting fusion of geography, design, and computer science. And we should also note that the availability of large volume behavioural data sets will empower theorists, practitioners and policymakers in the design disciplines to explore complex interactions between the local, regional, and global contexts. For the first time, it is becoming possible to explore how a given spatial unit such as a building, block, neighbourhood, or even region, relates to the units above, adjacent to, and below it. In other words, we can now consider complex multi-scalar interactions within and between spaces. Furthermore, we can consider how the flow of people and groups through these spaces and scales will change over time, incorporating recurring daily, weekly, and seasonal flows -- as well as exceptional events -- into our understanding of place-based dynamics and mobilities. Collectively, we can use these advances to provide relevant, timely, accessible, and appropriate feedback to policymakers, practitioners in the design disciplines, and citizens, empower each with the capacity to make choices about the future.
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