Thursday, 18 December 2008

Everytrail - Test Track

A new tool for the apple iPhone was released by the popular Everytrail website. This free tool to track movement can be downloaded from the iTunes store. It uses the GPS technology built in to the iPhone 3G, but it also uses the cell information and Wi-Fi to record its position.
The tracks can be saved locally on the device including pictures. It is possible to take pictures directly from within the application and they get included in the track data. There is the option to upload the recorded data directly, but even better is the option to store it locally and upload all at once. This saves battery power and therefore extends recording time. Developers suggest also to set the screen brightness very low. The main problem for tracking with the iPhone really is that the tracking application has to run in the foreground and it cannot be interrupted with the Home button or the Lock button. The Everytrail software does cleverly offer a “fake” lock option that prevents any input and disruption wile the iPhone is in the pocked. This “fake“ lock option looks the same as the normal iPhone Lock screen with a slider to unlock, but it is basically just from within this application and therefore means that none of the two button (Home or Lock) on the iPhone shall be pressed. Otherwise the ”fake“ lock will be interrupted. It only prevents touch screen input.
I tested it on a shopping trip down Tottenham Court Road in London. Although the device was an old iPhone without GPS the record is pretty accurate and can almost keep up with my Garmin Foretrex 201 that I normally use.
Once the track is uploaded to your personal area on the website (it is free to sign up here too) it is then possible to download the track as either KML, to view/use in Google Earth or as a GPX for use with any GPS software. This is a great option that not many other such products offer.

Here is embedded the uploaded track directly from including the images taken during the trip.


Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Community

Or it is possible to integrate as a simple map
ShoppingTottenhamCourtRoad at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Friday, 5 December 2008

Interaction with the Urban Form - Plymouth City Centre

Plymouth city centre is a very specific area. It has a very distinct character arising from the strong postwar design by Patrick Abercrombie. It has a truly mono functional use, it is a shopping centre in the most literal sense of the word possible. There are no offices, no restaurants, no pubs or bars, no housing, just shops and on the first or second floors storage space for the shops.
The shops open at 10h00 am and close at 18h00. These hours then basically determine the “opening” of the city centre. Outside of those the centre is dead, again literally. There is a very special phenomenon attached to this. Although the opening hours are as described above, shoppers vanish around 17h00. So approximately one hour before closing the shops are already empty and so is the center. Being in HMV at half five is like a scene out of “I am Legend” - hello is there someone? (I have written a longer article about this topic on JLF urban research.)
To my surprise this pattern shows up dramatically in my records. Although I was aware of this pattern and could have behaved differently, but I didn’t. There is no reason to walk through this area, as there is nothing happening and on top of this it becomes rather scary to be on your own in this vast outdoor shopping centre at night.
This short clip shows the activities within 24h. It is zoomed right into Plymouth center. The activities start around 10h00 and end exactly at 17h00. There is the odd crossing outside of these hours, but the characteristic shows clearly.

plymouth365_plyCentre from urbanTick on Vimeo.

To illustrate this in a bit more context, the following images include the city centre of Plymouth but cover also bits of outside area. What this shows is, that even after 17h00 the track record shows still a high number of activities, but they all exclude magically the centre.



Images by urbanTick - Time sequence 07h00, 09h00, 11h00, 16h00, 17h00, 19h00 and 22h00 activity in the Plymouth city center. Click for larger view.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Track Logs - Visualization Clips

I have been working on the improvement of the visualization. The main concern was the representation of the data in terms of time. So far the data was displayed only when there was a track point. Each track point would fade out after a representation time of approximately 30mins. What gets lost in this representation is times I stay in one place for a longer period, say being at work for a half a day or a day.
This new clip takes this into account and the represents exactly those times I haven’t moved for a wile. Interesting how those clusters build up and dissolve.

plymouth365_24H_duration from urbanTick on Vimeo.

Compared to the point version, the movie below shows the movement with longer duration times. It displays a time frame of 30 minutes. After this time the tracks and points fade out. Similar to the version above records that represent a longer attendance in one place stay even though the set timeframe has past.

plymouth365_24H_duration30 from urbanTick on Vimeo.

To set the duration of 24H in a more realistic context, the clip below integrates the amount of daylight. So at night it’s dark and during the day the sun is shining! Even tough it s Plymouth ...!
Anyway the darker periods of this day are quite long. This is due to the fact that the model uses January the first to calculate daylight conditions. So its winter then.

plymouth365_24h_sun from urbanTick on Vimeo.


What is now possible is to compare three different cities. I have a track record from Plymouth, Basle and London.
The following three screenshots are taken from Google Earth at an altitude of 9km. So they are comparable in scale.
What they all have in common is the fix points. The main structural elements of how my days work in terms of space and time are the same. Leaving home going to the same workplace everyday and returning back home. Between those fix points there build up quite intense tracks lines. This base layer get extended by some secondary points, e.g. location for the weekly shopping, favorite spots, friends location, ... The third element are the trips. Journeys that are usually going out of the daily routine to a further destination or just a stroll. They occur characteristically on days off or weekends. Depending on how familiar I am with the surrounding they are more focused or of more explorative nature.

Image by urbanTick - Plymouth

Image by urbanTick - Basel

Image by urbanTick - London

Interesting is to compare how I respond to the urban surrounding. The three cities have very distinct urban patterns from one another. Take Plymouth, a city completely planned almost from scratch after it was destroyed in the Second World War. The planner was Patrick Abercrombie who also presented ideas for the reconstruction or better new construction of London after the Blitz. Basel on the other hand is a similar size city in a very different setting with its growth patterns structuring very much its appearance. Or London as the third example, the world city with its single centre core.
To explore how those characteristics influence my interaction with the built environment in terms of routs I choose I overlay my tracks onto maps that capture the characteristics of the three cities.

Image by urbanTick - Plymouth Abercrombie Plan with Plymouth 365 track overlay

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, the tracks redraw quite exactly the characteristics of the Abercrombie Plan.

Image by urbanTick - Basel city center with track overlay

Note area A (dark brown) is the old medieval town surrounded by walls dated ca 1860. Area B (beige) is the extension, ca 1875,but still surrounded by a wall. Area C is the extension of the city ca 1926, but is also mainly the present extend. It is important to know that after the walls have been demolished, the freed up space has been used for major infrastructure placements such as roads, but also as open spaces. This means that additionally to the link roads that from the centre outwards there is also a no of ring roads (on the ground of the former walls) that tie in very well with the rest of the network. Moving radial is quite simply in therefore and the use of it is represented in through the no of tracks. Compared to this in London it’s quite tricky to travel radial as it has a strong centralized structure, roads mainly leading into or out of the city centre.
This then is represented in the London track log. It is strongly linear and this represents exactly this centrality as the line is pointing towards the centre.
So now guess which track log is which city.

Images by urbanTick - track record line drawings

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Plymouth Aquarium

I have been playing around with the Plymouth365 data set and managed to produce a collaged GPS file. The track data that was collected over the period of one year is displayed simultaneously.
It is an aquarium again where I recalculated the height according to the time. As time passes the track rises up. This has been done with simple spreadsheet calculation and then re-pasting into the gpx file. The new altitude is now the indication of process.
This image uses the simple transformation of the time into seconds as the height. In this example the altitude is between 32000m and 85000m. It is very difficult to read on the level of everyday Plymouth activities, but it draws nice progress lines from long distance and day trips.

Image by urbanTick - Plymouth 365 aquarium

Image by urbanTick - Plymouth 365 aquarium

The second image here has the height reduced by 50%. Much more detail is visible on smaller scale where long distance trips lose their quality. An interesting feature is the “wall” that emerges between the place where I lived and my work place. Along the path I used to take emerges a vertical mess of lines at all times/heights. I must have used this route pretty much at any time in the day during this one year period.
Although I have tried to “clean” the data today, there are still a large number of error lines showing up. Also seem there to be new error lines occurring because of the method I used to collage the gpx file. The problem is that I pasted it as one track and not as a set of tracks. This would involve some more computing, but it’s probably worth a try. With such a method some more specific queries would be possible.

Friday, 21 November 2008

London Aquarium Montage

Amazing how time passes...
The London Aquarium in new light under the sky.

Image by urbanTick - London Aquarium 2008-11 data

Track Visualisation

I have been working with the data material Plymouth365.
Different approaches have now been tested and it looks promising that this could lead to something.
I have been focusing on the analysis of the data in the context of a 24h day. Basically what I did is squeezed in all the days into one sample day and plot it. In other words, all the days are superimposed onto one day.

Image by urbanTick - activity graph

(These are screenshot movies and shows Google Earth playing the tracks over 24hours. It is a first shot at it, so needs some cleaning and tweaking.)

Image by urbanTick - aquarium, Time space diagram referred to as the aquarium. After Kwan (2004)

This data is actually pretty new, these are the new London tracks from October and November in 2008)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

GPS tracks London 2008

A first image of the emerging tracks in London. This record starts in September 2008.
The two hotspots already emerge. UCL and Tuffnel Park connected via the 390 bus line. I do really bad in crossing the Thames. Maybe I should start deliberately crossing the river. If only for the purpose of this image.

Image by urbanTick - London, generated 20081118

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tracking in Virtual Worlds - Tool for Second Life

SlogBase is an open source tool to track the movement of avatars in Second Life. The code offers a database that can be attached to objects in Second Life and sends sensor data to an external database.
It was develop with having in mind the marketing aspect. It is advertised by saying how important it is to know what visitors do and what they are interested in. By monitoring the movement on ones owned land the offers can be adjusted or exchanged based on the analysis of the logged data.
A lot of information can be logged with this tool. Beside the location, speed and direction other additional data can also be logged. This can be age or mode of transport.
Image taken from: SlogBase

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Bluetooth Tracking

Someone in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands has set up a small network of five Bluetooth sensors. The sensors are placed in different locations in the city, as said on the projects homepage “with friends and family”, to keep it a low budget project. Each location has a simple USB Bluetooth adaptor connected to the internet. All the information is then stored in one location in a database.
The sensor will pick up mobile devices with Bluetooth turned on. They are identified by a unique MAC address. Through the network of sensors within Apeldoorn it is then possible to roughly track individual devices.
The amount of data collected from just five locations is quite a lot. Within the first four weeks the network registered 15’000 unique devices.
As it occurs, some devices are picked up by two or more sensors and are therefore reveal information about movement within Apeldoorn of individual devices. Data from one sensor over a period of time reveals a picture of the usage pattern of the area it covers. An example from the project homepage at
Below you see the statistics of the Apeldoorn Driehuizen Bluetooth scanner. The location of this scanner is near a couple of office buildings. You can clearly see the early morning and late afternoon traffic it even shows that they usually go for a walk after lunch. One afternoon peaks at 12, Friday afternoon, and this is because many people take Friday afternoon off.

Image taken from Bluetooth tracking - Weekday activity

Dutch people like to enjoy long weekends and often take Friday afternoon off.”
This simple chart visualizes how working hours create a pattern in everyday movement. The chart only represents on e week, but every week is most likely the same as the pattern is repetitive.
The University of Bath has, it was revealed by a Guardian article on Monday July 21 2008, undertakes a very similar study. For this study the university has already three years ago, installed 10 Bluetooth scanners to capture signals from mobile devices. The data is used to study how people move around cities. The project is called Cityware and, similar to the previously mentioned example based in the Netherlands, stores the data centrally to allow analysis.
On the Cityware project home page the team publishes a map of data collected back in 2007. During a day on 9 different locations, 6 time sessions have been scanned.

Image taken from: Cityware

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


I have been working with the collected track data from my Plymouth pool. 365 track records represent my interaction with the built environment. Some “landmarks“ are drawn out quite good. Specially the rigid street structure of the city centre, designed by Abercrombie in 1944 (A Plan for Plymouth). But also the crossings over the river Tamar are visible (only three ways to cross, Tamar Bridge, Torpoint Ferry and Mount Edgecombe Ferry). Other infrastructure features like the trai​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​n line (especially Plymouth to Exeter) and the A38. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The image is​​​ ​j​u​s​t​ ​​an ​​o​​the​r​​​ ​​​​​v​​​​i​​​s​u​​​a​l​i​​z​a​t​​ion​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​,​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​c​​​​a​​n​​‘t​​ ​k​ee​​p​ ​my​​ ​h​an​​d​s​ o​f​​ ​it​ ​​loo​k​​s​ j​u​​s​t​​ ​gre​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​t​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image by urbanTick - Plymouth 365

Google Earth for the iPhone

Here we go, Google has transferred the application Google Earth to the iPhone. It is possible to carry the earth in one’s pocket and have it at one’s fingertip.
The application can be downloaded from the iTunes store for free. Navigation is simple with the touch screen by using the fingertips to move zoom in and zoom out. Amazingly the accelerometer of the phone is used to tilt the view. There is a set of layers that can be turned on and off. Google integrated Wikipedia and Panoramio so far. Unfortunately it is not possible to display customized kml files. This would become very interesting if this functionality will be added in the future. The New York Times has put together a good and bad list to summaries first impressions.

Watch the short introduction movie by Google:

It can be downloaded through this iTunes link.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The London Tracks

Here is an other image of a collection of tracks recorded over a longer period of time. This time it is London. This record was set up as part of my research for the master thesis.
In this thesis project the focus lay on my personal diary. I wanted to find out, or better visualize the spatial extend of my routines. Although it is a record over a relatively short period of two month, it shows a very clear pattern. It could be described as a bunch of north-south back and forward lines. This is the from and to home respectively, to and from the Bartlett School of Architecture.
There are some occasional trips leaving this pattern. They are very distinct from the everyday pattern and I can still remember most of them quite detailed, although this is two years back. A trip to the Barbican to see the Future City exhibition, the great walk through Hampstead Heath, kicking the ball on a hot day in Regents Park. Those sorts of trips just stand out. This is somehow a different way to memorize spatial activity. The exception stands out from the crowd.

Image by urbanTick - London 2006

Monday, 13 October 2008


This entry contains a list to all the quotes in this blog. I will try and be as disciplined as possible and note down each one of them.
For now I sort the entries alphabetically per source. Maybe in the future there will be the need for some sub categories.


Alder, M. & Giovanoli, D., 1997. Soglio: Siedlungen und Bauten / Insediamenti e construzioni 2nd ed., Birkhäuser Basel.

Allsopp, B., 1974. Towards a Humane Architecture, London: Muller.

Appleyard, D., Lynch, K. & Myer, J.R., 1964. The View from the Road, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press for the Joint Center for Urban Studies of M.I.T. and Harvard University.

Burdett, R. & Sudjic, D., 2008. The Endless City, London: Phaidon Press Inc.

Bonnemaison, S. & Eisenbach, R., 2009. Installations by Architects: Experiments in Building and Design, Princeton Architectural Press.

van Boom, N. & Mommaas, H. eds., 2009. Transformation Strategies For Former Industrial Cities, R: NAi Publishers.

Capra, Fritjof (1997 ), The web of Life - a new Synthesis of Mind and Matter. Flamingo, London.

Grosz, E., 1998. Bodies-Cities. In H. J. Nast, ed. Places Through the Body. London: Routledge.

Hall, P.G., 1988. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Hillier, B., 1996. Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jackson, J.B., 2000. The Stranger's Path. In Landscape in Sight. London: Yale University Press.

Christian Nolde, et all, 2009. Emotional Cartography - the Technologies of the self.

Author, A. N., 1978. Human Activity and Time Geography - Volume 2 - Timing Space and Spacing Time. Tommy Calstein, Don Parkes, Nigel Thrift ed. London: Eduard Arnold Ltd

Debord, G., Jorn, A. & et al, 2006. Theory of the Derive and Other Situationist Texts. Actar

Gould, P. & White, R., 1974. Mental Maps, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

R. Klanten, N. Bourquin, S. Ehmann, F. van Heerden, T. Tissot, 2008. Data Flow. Berlin: Gestalten

Morris, A.E.J., 1994. History of Urban Form: Before the Industrial Revolutions 3rd ed., Harlow: Longman Scientific & Technical.

Office, F.M.A., 1998. Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large: Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rem Koolhaas, and Bruce Mau 2nd ed., New York, N.Y: Monacelli Press.

Kempf, P., 2009. You are the City Pap/Trspy., Baden: Lars Muller Publishers.

Koppelkamm, S., 2006. Ortszeit = Local Time, Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges.

Lynch, K., 1960. The Image of the City, Cambridge, [Mass.]: MIT Press.

Manaugh, G., 2009. The BLDGBLOG Book, Chronicle Books. Available at:

Nesbitt, K., 1996. Theorizing a new agenda for architecture, New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Refinetti, R., 2006. Circadian Physiology 2nd ed., Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.

Reichholf, J., 2008. Warum die Menschen sesshaft wurden: Das größte Rätsel unserer Geschichte 2nd ed., Fischer (S.), Frankfurt.

Richards, E.G., 1998. Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History, New York: Oxford University Press.

Shane, D.G., 2005. Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modelling in Architecture, Urban Design and City Theory, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Shannon, K. & Smets, M., 2010. The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure, Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

Somer, K., Van, E.&.V.L.S. & Amsterdam, (., 2007. The Functional City: The CIAM and Cornelis Van Eesteren, 1928-1960, Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

Yi-Fu Tuan (1974), Topophilia. Columbia University Press, New York


Thomas Kapler and William Wright, GeoTime Information Visualization. In: IEEE InfoVis 2004, 2004. 8.

David Crandall, Lars Backstrom, Daniel Huttenlocher and Jon Kleinberg, 2009. Mapping the World’s Photos. www



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Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Biggest Drawing in the World

Some crazy guy did this BIG project. I think it was his thesis project for a degree/diploma in art. Nice idea, though.
He sent a parcel with DHL around the world, tracking the parcels route. How far can tracking go?

Image from The Biggest Drawing in the World - World as a canvas

Image from The Biggest Drawing in the World - Shipping instruction for DHL to get the drawing to sit on the right place on this enormous canvas.

It appears in the end that is all fake! Anyway, the idea is great, the visuals are convincing.

GPS Tracks Basel 2007

For a three month period I tracked my journey while living in Basel, Switzerland. In this example the modes of transport are bicycle, bus, tram and as a pedestrian. There are a number of lines leaving the image down in to the rest of Switzerland towards north is Germany and west is France). This is probably down to the fact that Basel as a city is quite small compared to Plymouth or London. An other aspect, especially compared to Plymouth is that the public transport is very good. Even though one does not have a car, it is simple and quick to go somewhere, this probably motivates to make trips to other places.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
The pattern that usually shows where I live and where I work appears surprisingly less obvious that expected. The knot where I lived is somehow visible, but apart from this is rather unclear.
Strong lines also appear along the train line Basel-Olten and there is a strongly visible mark leading towards the Laufental.
Image by urbanTick - The straight lines occur where the GPS device had a weak satellite connection

The following are notes just after I recorded the tracks in 2007-02-15.
“ is again the graph with the plotted tracks that show how I move around the city. The pattern stayed the same it became just denser. I stopped this record at the end of the year. So I do have now three month of records, guess that’s enough as there is no changes in sight for the near future.
The pattern develops around a few hotspots and connects them within and with some points of interest or necessity.
As it is basically a movement pattern and not an activity pattern there is not much to find about my acting in the city. It is talking about the city structure and tells the story of how one can move about this particular area. Maybe more interesting is what I do in between. One could say this is closer to some kind of space-syntax research, but maybe in terms of how activities are structuring the movement within the settlement this is not very useful. It is too close to the physical reality to tell a richer story.
There is a lot of information missing. For example it would be very interesting to actually see where and how long I stopped somewhere. There are brakes in between the lines, at my workplace, where I go for lunch... these events could tell a totally different story. It is actually recorded in most of the daily data on the GPS device, I just do not know how to visualize this...!
I am already working for a few months with this device and I am still impressed by the output. The drawing shown is very simple but it visualizes very clear how much of the city structure I actually know, in terms of physically experienced, and how much I have left out. But still, I would claim to know the city as a whole. Despite the fact I haven't seen large areas I create a mental image of the city and its network of connections. ...”

Friday, 10 October 2008

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 10 January 2010

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Toward a More Human Architecture

The title of a book I have come a cross today in the library. I only just flipped through, but what I picked up was that the author is saying that today’s (what ever publication date the book has) architecture and urbanism are disconnecting the people living in those structures from their natural habits and the way humans are meant to live.
Although I do not entirely agree with this claim, I could relate the topic of cycles and rhythms to this argument.
It is a fact that we are no longer living like people did in agent times, when everyone was a farmer and completely relying on what they were able to produce on their own fields with their own hands. But I would assume that the natural cycles still apply to nowadays life, even in the city. The book is: Allsopp, B., 1974. Towards a Humane Architecture, London: Muller.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


A specific interest in the field of cycles are the three areas to deal with the interaction between the people in the city and the city it self. The hypothesis here is that cycles as repetitive actions are involved in the construction of orientation, memory and identity in the urban context.
The following examples are taken from my master thesis “Cycles in urban environments”. The thesis developed from the project AKA and is based on researching the topic in London.

Identity of the place or the genius loci can be mainly driven by the rhythm events fill and empty the space. As a very simple example can be named a local street marked. Every week the Saturday is the marked day. The road is traffic free for the duration of the marked while the stands occupy the street and the people gather round to do their weekly shopping and have a chat.
The example documents the street market at Queens Crescent in Kentish Town, London. How the identity of the place changes between the two aggregates of market day and local street day are best documented with photographs.

Image taken from cycles in urban environments - Market Day

Image taken from cycles in urban environments - Street Day

The changes reach from function e.g. the road, the walkways to role of the defining elements, such as local shops to distances, density and usage. Also certain secondary elements change dramatically. For example colors, materials and smells transform the space dramatically. These are the changes that follow directly from transformation. But from the repetition of the cycle, the space, in this case the road generates it special identity consisting of the two aspects of street day and market day.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

GPS tracks one year Plymouth

Wile in Plymouth I was recording my person movement on a daily basis with a simple Garmin Handheld GPS device. It is a collection of tracks over the period of one year and it visualizes my interaction with the built environment. Two characteristics can clearly be seen in the image produced. One is that the movement was almost solely purpose orientated. It draws usually a straight line ( as direct as possible respecting the built form and the topography) between point A (initial position) and point B (destination). Furthermore, I can say that also the number of destinations are rather limited. Although recorded over the period of one year the movement is restricted and highly predictable. There seems to be only a handful of important location to be that are worth going to. Obviously, there are the three main destinations, home, work, essentials.
The second characteristic is closely related to the first one. The routes stay the same, the movement between the points are repetitive. At the beginning, there might be some optimizing going on, but after two-three times it seems to lock in and stay how it is.
Overall it is a very personal record of my time in Plymouth. It could be called a dairy, a spatial diary. It definitely helps to bring up memories of activities and experiences through recapturing the spacial configuration. I am wondering how long this will last. Will it prove to be as good as a photograph to help me remember certain anecdotes in twenty years time?

edited, 2017-10-23

Cycles in Urban Environments

This is an introduction to what URBAN TICK is meant to look into. The topic has grown from my master thesis and is based on the AKA project developed by jafud. It has since evolved into a research topic on its own. The following gives a short introduction.

Cycles, rhythms and patterns exist in everyday urban life. There is something that brings us out of the bed in the morning, lets us squeeze into the tube at the same time as so many other citizens do, gives us a sense of time - lets us remember a past event and brings us back to bed after all. The same rhythm brings goods into town, exports products and consumes entertainment. It also scratches on the facade of buildings changes usages and sets up trends. The city ticks somehow. Cycles appear in any part of life. Examples can be found in time, economics, and the environment and could be seasons, day, technology, events, life cycles, or even particular phenomena like rush hour or basic needs such as breathing, eating and sleeping. They are celebrated through rituals and used as a tool for categorization. In the first place, the main characteristics are, that it is continuous along a time axis, i.e. it could be described as the manifestation of time passing by. In the second place, its characteristic is that some sort of repetition occurs. The repetition is a tool for feedback. ‘From the study of living systems and the science of cybernetics, we learnt about the importance of feedback loops to maintain a system. This information is processed alongside any cycle and constantly leads to an assessment. The continuum of the cycle in its repetitions gives a rhythm or a pattern to life’ [Capra, (1997), p 155]. This pattern is the subject of this research work with the focus on the urban environment. How do these cycles move people and goods through the city and how its rhythm interacts with the built surrounding? Many different cycles overlap at any point in the city. They are not synchronized and they interfere and disturb one another. This can be the source of movement and activity in urban life. In order to understand this, I will try to find out where these cycles come from, how they build up and whether and how they transform into urban form. In my master thesis developed at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2005, I started researching on cycles in urban environments. The cycles I identified were grouped into three categories. The first group was natural cycles, containing rhythms such as day and night, seasons and basic human needs. The second group was activity cycles, working hours, weekend, rush hour and it also includes economical cycles, trends and so on. The third group is the material cycles, containing everything from material life cycle to building life cycle and containing technical aspects such as refurbishment, concepts of revitalizing. As an overall aspect, cycles touch in all fields on sustainability, from object to lifestyle to townscape. Referring to the three previously named categories, the second on, activity cycles, will be the main focus of the research. This leads to a focus on the interaction between humans and the built environment.
edited, 2017-10-23

Thursday, 2 October 2008


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Mail goes to:
urbanTick, Fabian Neuhaus, urbanTick, CASA, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 7HB

I will try my best to get back to you as soon as possible.


Beside this blog some of my work has been published in other media and on different occasions I have presented the work.

Neuhaus, F., (forthcoming). Spatio-temporal Dimensions of the City: Urban Rhythm. Heidelberg: Springer Publishers.

Neuhaus, F., (forthcoming). The use of social media for urban planning: Virtual urban landscapes created using Twitter data. In N. Norte Pinto et al., eds. Technologies in Urban and Spatial Planning: Virtual Cities and Technologies. Lisbon: IGI GLobal

Braun, D., Bühlmann, M., Burri, L., Degenhardt, B., Neuhaus, F., Schumacher, C., Straumann, M., Weinhardt, S., (forthcoming). SchulUmbau diskutieren. Verhandlungsthemen aus interdisziplinärer Sicht von Architektur, Pädagogik und Psychologie. Basel: FHNW.

Neuhaus, F., 2013. New City Landscape: Mapping Twitter data in urban areas. The Cartographic Journal, 46, pp.25–30.

Neuhaus, F. & Webmoor, T., 2012. Agile Ethics for Massified Research and Visualization. Information, Communication & Society, pp.1-23.

Neuhaus, F., 2011. New City Landscape - Mapping urban Twitter usage. Technoetic Arts, 9(1), pp.31–48.

Neuhaus, F., ed., 2011. Studies in Temporal Urbanism - the UrbanTick Experiment, Heidelberg: Springer Publishers.

Neuhaus, F., 2011. UrbanDiary – GPS and the Spatial Habitus. GPS-HRN News Update, 2011(6), pp.2-4. Available at: HRN [Accessed June 20, 2011].

Neuhaus, F., 2010. UrbanDiary - A Tracking Project Capturing the beat and rhythm of the city: Using GPS devices to visualise individual and collective routines within Central London. The Journal of Space Syntax, 1(2), pp.315-336. Available at: JOSS.

Neuhaus, F., 2010. Cycles in Urban Environments: Investigating Temporal Rhythms, LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. Preview available at: issu.

Neuhaus, F., 2009. UrbanDiary - A Tracking Project. CASA Working Paper 151. Available at: issuu and CASA.

Neuhaus, F., 2009. PLY365. Graduate School Handbook, The Art of Research(2009/10), 34.

Neuhaus, F., 2009a. urbanTick. Palette, 1. Available at:

Neuhaus, F., 2009b. UrbanTick to UrbanDiary — Tracking the City Beat. perfect city. Available at:

Neuhaus, F. & Hodel, L., 2004. Start_Szenario_Start - Eine Strategie. In Jungle2. Basel: Birkhaeuser, pp. 124-148. Available at: Google Books.


Presentations / Lectures:
Neuhaus, F., 29th January 2013. Temporal Aspects of the City. MRes Advanced Spatial Analysis & Visualisation at UCL. London, UK.

Neuhaus, F., 22th Novemebr 2012. City Rhythms - Mapping London's Social Media Use Patterns. CMS:ZOOM. London, UK.

Neuhaus, F., 11th October 2012. The City in Time and Space - movement pattern and the creation of temporal territories.. Spaces and Flows Conference 2012. Detroit, US.

Neuhaus, F., 05th September 2012. Virtual Landscape and a Peak for the London 2012 Olympic Park. Society of Cartographers 48th Annual Conference. London, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 14th March 2012. Using Social Media Data for Research: The Ethical Challenges. CRASSH Lunch Time Seminar. Cambridge, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 26th January 2012. Temporal Aspects of the City. MRes Advanced Spatial Analysis & Visualisation at UCL. London, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 07th December 2011. Hic Sunt Dracones - Mapping, what ever. Institute of Architecture and Planning at University of Lichtenstein, Vaduz, LI. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 19th November 2011. The City in Time and Space - the individual experience in comparison. Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), Baltimore, US. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 13th October 2011. Location Based Social Networks and the Emerging Sense of Place. Second International Conference of Young Urban Researchers 2011. Lisbon, PT. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 11th October 2011. NCL - Tracking Location Based Social Networks Using Twitter Data. 7th Virtual Cities and Territories Conference 2011. Lisbon, PT. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 7th September 2011. New City Landscapes and Virtual Urban Social Networks. CRESC Annual Conference 2011. Manchester, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 1st September 2011. New City Landscape - Mapping urban online spaces of interaction. Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Annual Conference 2011. London, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 20st July 2011. Location Based Social Networking: Tracking Activity in an Urban Environment Using Twitter Data. Geo Computation (GeoCom) 2011. London, UK. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 06th July 2011. New City Landscape - Mapping Urban Activity Using the Social Networking Platform Twitter. Computer in Urban Planning and Urban Management (CUPUM) 2011. Lake Louise, CA. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F. & Webmoor, T., 25th March 2011. Massified Research and Visualisation. In Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation. Oxford. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F. & Gray, S., 02nd March2011. Twitter Data - Seeking Spatial Pattern. CASA Seminar, UCL. London. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 22nd February 2011. Urban Memories - Narrative and Time. Lecture, MA Urban Design, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. London. Available at: urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 02nd November 2010. New City Landscape - Urban Mapping Using Twitter Messages. Conference talk at GSA Annual Meeting 2010, Denver, Co, USA. Available at: prezi.
The Community Remote Sensing session program is available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 27th October 2010. New Data Landscapes - Urban Mapping, Surveying and the Tweet-o-Meter. Talk at CASA seminar.

Neuhaus, F., 27th October 2010. Stadtraum UrbanDiary - Eine Untersuchung zum Stadtraum am Beispiel London und Basel. Talk at Town Planning Department City of Basel, Ch. Available at: prezi or urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., 04th October 2010. GPS and Twitter - Tracking in Urban Environments. Talk at Steer Davis Gleaves, Transport Planning Consultants, London, UK. Available at: prezi.

Neuhaus, F., 02nd September 2010. The Time-Space Extension of Everyday Life in the City. Conference talk at RGS Royal Geographical Society Anual Conference 2010. Available at: prezi or urbanTick.

Neuhaus, F., Hudson-Smith, A., Milton, R., Grey, S., 01st September 2010. Data Mining/Crowd Sourcing and Spatial Analysis: Enhancing our Social, Spatial and Temporal Understanding of Cities via Mining Geo-Located Data. Conference Talk at CRESC annual conference 2010 - the Social Live of Methods, St Hugh's College Oxford.

Neuhaus, F., 27th July 2010. The Spatial Narratives and the Construction of Space. Lecture at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Available on prezi or on the blog.

Neuhaus, F., 21st April 2010. Space Time: an Overview on Repetition. Lecture, MA Cities, Design and Urban Cultures, Department of Architecture and Design, the London Metropolitan University. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 23th March 2010. Narrative and Time. Lecture, MArch Urban Design, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 4th March 2010. Digital Footprints / Tracing Bodies Through Narratives of the Everyday. Lecture, MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 9th February 2010. Narrative and Time. Lecture, School of Architecture, Design and Environment, University of Plymouth. Plymouth. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 2nd December 2009. UrbanDiary - The Spatial Narrative of Everyday Life or the Construction of Time and Space in the City. PhD Upgrade Presentation, CASA, UCL. London
Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 4th November 2009. Cycles, Rhythms and Pattern in Everyday Life. IDRN - The use of mapping software & systems in health and academic research. Poster Presentation, RGS. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 24th September 2009. Mapping the Everyday - The Spatial Extension of Routines. Lecture, School of Architecture, University of Plymouth. Plymouth. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 2nd July 2009. The Spatial Extension of Everyday Life. POPFest 2009, LSE. London.
Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 15th June 2009. Shaping Cities - from the body Experience to Urban Morphology. UrbanDesign, ARUP. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 25th March 2009. Cycles, rhythms and pattern in every day life. CASA, UCL. London.
Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 5th March 2009. Urban Diary - London. UCL Grad School poster competition 2009. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 9th January 2009. UD - Cycles in Urban Environments. S4 European Spatial Analysis network, CASA, UCL. London. Available HERE.

Neuhaus, F., 3rd December 2008. Urban Diary. Department of Information Science, City University London. London. Available HERE.



Neuhaus F., Dendra D., Koh I., 2010. AG: Virtual Versus Real. Two week workshop at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow.
Info HERE and HERE.

Neuhaus F., 2009. Mapping the Everyday - Workshop Plymouth 2009-09-25. One day workshop at University of Plymouth, Faculty of Art, School of Architecture, Plymouth.
Info HERE and HERE.


To have a look at the images published don the blog please see the slideshow below or visit my flickr page.