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From sustainability to the new beauty in the following four books are put forward to start into 2012. The topics all address some of the concerns raised about cities in the past year or so and all contribute to the current discussion around changes in social and spatial organisation at large. With globalisation and technology social structures are changing requiring urban environments to be adapted. This will not happen tomorrow, nor is it a case of restarting in building it new from scratch. The only option is to keep transforming and by testing and engaging with the presented new thoughts and aspects we might take a step into this direction.

Not all cities are mega cities. In fact most of the cities are small to mid sized. According to the work Mike Batty had done together with Martin Austwick and Oliver O’Brian on Rank Clocks plotting city sizes in the US, only about 10% of the cities are mega or large. The rest of the cities are under 1 million in population size.

In terms of sustainability potential these large numbers of smaller cities could actually play a major role and this is what Catherine Tumber put forward in her publication Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World published by MIT Press.

There are so many problems the smaller cities face. From long terms decline due to the faltering of industries, massive transport infrastructures slicing them into non workable urban islands and social struggles related to working poor and general poverty reminiscent of postcolonial squalor. The biggest struggle however is the fact that they are excluded from the general debate of urban planning and theoretical thinking. They all practice urban planning and development, but with only little recognition and background.

Tumber argues that due to the smaller sized, shorter distances and proximity to farmland and recreation these smaller cities have a lot of potential to implement sustainable concepts and start integrating those in everyday urban practice. Tumber especially points to renewable energies, such a wind, food production and local agriculture as well as manufacturing skills. Its all about producing and consuming locally.

These ideas are not new and sort of resonate with early garden cities ideas, especially in the praise of size and population density. This is not at all a negative association, but more a practical application. Since here it is not about setting up a new place to live, which can in itself not be sustainable, but about reprogramming an existing one sustainability is given an additional dimension.

Small, Gritty, and Green Book cover
Image taken from archpaper / Small, Gritty, and Green, book cover, part.

Does a city posses its very own spirit and identity? Daniel A. Bell and Avner de-Shalit argue in their new book The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age published by Princeton University Press that actually they do. The authors draw on the ancient Greek concept of city spirit and argue for the rediscovery of the local urban spirits around the world especially in connection to todays globalisation.

Earlier publications have picked up on this topic and characterised cities in such a manner as to work out distinct identities. Saskia Sassen in Cities in a World Economy and more recently Martina Löw in Soziologie der Städte
(sociology of cities). THe concept of the citiy spirit is, as Löw points out, closely entangled with the city marketing that has been very popular in the past fifteen years as a tool to distinguish, present and attract.

Bell and de-Shalit look specifically at nine modern cities: Jerusalem (religion), Montreal (language), Singapore (nation building), Hong Kong (materialism), Beijing (political power), Oxford (learning), Berlin (tolerance and intolerance), Paris (romance) and New York (ambition). Of course soe of them sound like external concepts. Especially Paris and the age old topic of romance, hey but never mind it shapes the place in a certain way and this identity hold the potential to develop something specific and relevant.

Each city is portrait in a lot of detail making good use of story telling as well as combining theoretical aspects with practical experience. A good read for travellers of thought.

The Spirit of Cities Book cover
Image taken from the Atlantic / The Spirit of Cities, book cover.

“We have to find our way back to beauty!” Lars Spuybroek argues in his new book The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design, published by V2_publishing, for a revised approach to design culture moving away from the technological practice of modernism towards a more romantic notion of art in the sense that beauty always combines variations, imperfection and fragility. Spuybroek bases his arguments on John Ruskin‘s aesthetics. Overall the book is a project to wrest these topics out of the Victorian era into the present. This is achieved by combining the five central themes of Ruskin: the Gothic and work, ornament and matter, sympathy and abstraction, the picturesque and time and ecology and design in combination with more recent thoughts on aesthetics by philosophers such as William James and Bruno Latour.

It becomes a projection of a world of feeling and beauty in such a way as it completely does a way with the fundamentalism and absolutism of modernist conception of design.

The Sympathy of Things Book cover
Image taken from il giornale dell architettura / The Sympathy of Things, book cover.

Graphical representation of information are in every case an abstract representation. Often to represent a point of view or a standpoint is required and depending on this the representation is biased. In Picturing the Uncertain World: How to Understand, Communicate, and Control Uncertainty through Graphical Display published by Princeton University Press, Howard Wainer is looking at the phenomenon of information display of statistical data and the possible complications.

The book is less about graphics than numbers, although graphics do play an important role. Similar to Dona M. Wong’s Guide to Information Graphics and also like Tufte’s Books The Visual Display of Information and Envisioning Information the correct representation is at the heart of the text. However, Wainer focuses more on the conditions and the explanations than the design.

Wainer is a longtime expert in statistical graphics who works as a research scientist for the National Board of Medical Examiners and as an adjunct professor of statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The examples are discussed in detail in order to really get the reader to understand the points Wainer is to make. This has the advantage that for a number of the examples the reader also comes to finally understand the actual meaning of the graph probably well known to him. The book draws from a great range of examples including Charls Joseph Minard’s plot of Napoleons Russian Campaign, Florence Nightingale’s Diagram of Mortality and William Playfair’s Wheat Prices graph to name a few.

The book is written in a very accessble language and takes time to explain the details as well as linking it with current facts and events that enlighten the presented problem further. Definitely a great read for data enthusiasts.

Picturing the Uncertain World Book cover
Image taken from Borders / Picturing the Uncertain World, book cover.

Wainer, H., 2009. Picturing the Uncertain World: How to Understand, Communicate, and Control Uncertainty through Graphical Display, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Bell, D.A. & de-Shalit, A., 2011. The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Spuybroek, L., 2011. The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design, Rotterdam: V2_Publishing.

Tumber, C., 2011. Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World, Boston, MA: MIT Press.

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Social networking is an internet phenomena and as such not limite to political borders. It spread rather quickly around the globe and is now as a range of maps recently has shown present on al continents as an important part of internet usage. THere are of course great variations between the locations as factors of actual internet accessibility.

GlobaWebIndex global social network usage
Image taken from globalwebindex / THe ranking of Social Network penetration by country. Not sure why Japan is so low. This depends on the definition of Social Networking presumably which is not provided.

Mashable describs the research: “The research, run by London-based consultancy Trendstream, has conducted six waves of surveys about global consumer adoption of the Internet and social media in 36 markets. It used data from its February 2011 surveys of between 750 and 2,000 online users in each market to define three behavior types: messagers, groupers and content sharers.”

GlobaWebIndex global social network usage
Image taken from globalwebindex / The global usage of Social networking. The grey circle show total number where the colours characterise the different group of use characteristics. Click for large image.

GlobalWeg Index explains the map as: “This shows the universe size of active social networkers for each market and then segments users into three behaviour types: Messagers, Groupers and Content Sharers. This behavioural data is based on a number of detailed questions we conduct into the way that consumers use social networks. Because social networking is now so big and touches every aspect of our internet experience, this detail is essential for the effective planning and implementation of marketing activity across social networks. This data reveals that users across the world are very different in how they utilise their network, with more focus on messaging and less on content sharing in established markets like the US and UK but more focus on content and groups in fast growing markets like Indonesia and China.”

These three different groups are shown on the map as with three different colours red for messages and mailers, blue for content sharers and green for group focused. The observed countries behave differently and from this study it seems that content sharing is more important in Asia, where messaging is more often used in the West. Indi seems to be the main marked for groups. Overall Asia and especially China is the largest market, with 155m users even now overtaking the US, with about 114m users. It is definitely the largest growing market.

Africa is as expected the smallest market compared to individual European or Asian countries. Some of the results are surprising such as the low number in Australia and rather high number in Poland. Also the visualisation is rather misleading with the results evenly distributed across the globe when it actually only is looking at certain countries. The map visually looks as if it covers everything. Stronger colouring in the actual locations or clearer association of the graphs with the country would probably help.
Nevertheless it provides a great overview and gives a feeling for the state of the social network usage globally.

Via Mashable

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In most disciplines graphics, as is graphs, are not exactly new. The presentation of data, facts and figures have come to play a important role. Especially with the limited capacities of excel and other spread sheet software this was easy to do, but never really successful. One of the areas graphs play a central role is definitely financing and it is no surprise in this context ‘The Wall Street Journal presents its Guide to Information Graphics – The Dos and Don’ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures‘.

It is put together by a former student of Edward Tufte, the master of information graphics, Dona M. Wong and published by Norton & Company Inc. She has worked in the industry long enough to know the graphic side of it inside out. This comprehensive guide is looking is great detail at the production, the characteristics and the context of graphs with a specific focus on the representation of financial data.

Talking financial data this is bar or line graphs. This is still probably right and the book does not chalenge this, but puts these tools into a wider context and provides a step by step guide with great detail on how to make the most of these ‘well known’ tools.

The chalenge is great, mainly because this is probably one of the most traditional markets ever. Especially because it has such a long tradition talking a core element through and making suggestions can be a very delicate matter. On the other hand Wong is also challenging the excel practice and up against the overworked executive assistant who has to put together a final report on facts two minuts before the meeting. It’s not laziness but practice that produces these terrible charts.

In this sense Wong reacts to this by making an effort to make the guide look very traditional and simple with a very clear structure. However, the tone of the to dos and don’ts is clearly telling and not suggestive. There is little room for experimentation and invention, the ways to do it are resented about as factual as the bar represents a end of the year sum.

The book talks through all the pitfalls and mistakes commonly made. It has a great introduction highlighting the wider context of chart and the importance of framing, comparison and sectioning. It then looks at font and colour giving some very practical advice on how to avoid the impossibilities in possible combinations. Then it talks through the actual graph types, their strength and weaknesses. After the form, Wang discusses the content and its preparation with the common mistakes made by ignoring some basic math, such as standard deviation, mean and median, distribution and average, but also logarithmic scale and percentage, ending with some money cases. The last chapter is a discussion of problem solving strategies fo ‘tricky situations.

Even if you are a frequent charter this hands on book, focusing on the traditional finance market practice has something to tell you and chance are good it will help you improve the message the next time your rushing the data into a pie chart while eating a donut and taking the stairs to the bar.
After reading this it, knowing the rules, it will be time to find out how to brake them.

Information Graphics
Image taken from mostOfYouAreAverage / The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Donʼts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures – Book cover

Wong, D., 2010. The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Donʼts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures, New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

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This publication is in many ways not really a book and as it says on the front cover, it is more of ‘a Prospectus of Developments…’. It is not as big or thick as a book, but it most likely outweighs them all in one aspect, the timeframe it covers. Architecture – a Synoptic Vision summarises the developments in architecture from 1900 to today, where today is 2007. The prospectus is published by Birkhauser and includes a card a poster and a booklet.

Its the fascination with the past as the struggle to organise memories to make sense of the present that shapes the desire to redraw history. And in many ways this synopsis does redraw the past hundred years, in colour and blogs, with lines and words. The three authors Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard put their vision of the past forward as an ‘example of an evolutionary history’.

Image by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard / Card showing the style and movement developments in architecture during the 20th century. Taken from ‘Architectur : a Synoptic Vision’ by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard, published by Birkhauser.

They note in the introduction the changes in how architecture is thought and practiced and how distinct movements have been lost in the course of the years to drown in the global distribution and the enormous availability of information. They note: “These differing views have marke contemporary discourse on architecture as a highly controversial and at the same time ideological exercise”.

The large poster chart is one part of the publication and summarises in a downwards direction visually the development and different groupings in architectura style and theory. Structurally dominant are the three concepts of Modernism/Classicism, Dogmatic Modernism and Expressive Modernism. Where as Schinkel stands above the Dogmatic Modernism and Semper above the Expressive Modernism, the Ecole des Beaux-Art stands at the beginning of Modernism/Classicism. The three blobs are augmented in detail with names of architects practicing in the tradition of one of the three areas. For important figures milestones, key projects are also listed. So for example Kahn is represented with the Yale Art Gallery, New Haven Connecticut, 1951-53, as part of the Modernism/Classicism. Le Corbusier stand for the Dogmatic Modernism with for example Unite d’Habitation, Marseille 1946-52. And Hans Scharoun forms part of the Expressive Modernism with for example the Philharmonie, Berlin, 1960-63.

So far for the main body of the hundred year chart. It becomes more complicated in recent years, where, as the authors note: “The positioning of contemporary attitude, in particular, is speculative and can only be preliminary in nature because of the historical distance for a more thoroughly examined allocation is still missing”.

As a result the recent thirty years are part of the same blob. Visually the three distinct streams merge into one, around the first and the second oil crisis (1972 and 1979 respectively) as the Reflective Modernism. At the same time though, the sub categories become many and smaller unnamed groupings of practices and architects form. so is Foster, Nouvel and Piano a blob, or Diener&Diener, Krischanitz, Maerkli and Snozzi for example. But of course aso features Herzog de Meuron or Sauerbruch Hutton, Kollhoff and Chipperfield. Any name you can think of in a current architecture landscape is put down on the time axis with a group indication.

Mies 1964
Image taken from MoMa / Brick Country House, project, Potsdam-Neubabelsberg, Plan
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American, born Germany. 1886-1969) 1964. Ink on illustration board, 30 x 40″ (76.2 x 101.6 cm). Mies van der Rohe Archive, gift of the architect. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In the accompanying booklet the authors discuss briefly the main characteristics of space styled topics over the period. The idea is to illustrate “humankind’s interaction with built space” using archetypal buildings. The topic are ‘the Centre’ with Kahn and Schinkel, ‘the Horizontal’ with SANAA and Mies, ‘the Third Dimension’ with Loos and Hertzberger, as the three keys.

The thing with time is the constant struggle for order and there have been previously and there will be many other attempts to make sense of it all, bring history in order and paint one consistant picture. This can only ever be done from the current moment of being in retrospect with the whole rucksack of knowledge and experience, values and desires. In this sense each attempt is a very momentary and personal eg subjective one. However, this is not in any way diminishing the value of any of these attempts, on the contrary, it highlights the importants it has for the moment as well as the identity it creates. In some ways the interpretation of the past has to be interpreted as the image of the present.

This is a great publication and the poster should be pined up at every office entrance, of course with the office positioning its elve in the context of such a temporal framework. The playful integration of history as a stimulant for visions, definitely a creativity field manual.

Image by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard / Cover of Architectur : a Synoptic Vision by Adrian Meyer, Susanne Kuhlbrodt and Beat Aeberhard, published by Birkhauser.

Via Birkhauser, additional review can be found at Archidose.

Meyer, A., Kuhlbrodt, S. & Aeberhard, B., 2008. Architecture — A Synoptic Vision Pap/Chrt., Basel: Birkhauser.

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How do terms compare in usage over the centuries. With the Ngram Viewer now available on the Google Labs the massive stock of scanned books as part of the Google Book project becomes available for search. It allows for the graphing of terms according to the frequency they are used per year. The data ranges from 1800 to 2000.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the two search terms decades of the century. Interesting how the different decades peak some decades after. Some decades have a shifted or even two peaks, like for example the ‘nineties’ that peak already around 1920. Of course the continuos fascination with the sixties is visible, but also te thirties cling on.

Google has grouped it into several corpora, groups of books. Most of them related to different languages, currently these are English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish, but also samples like the ‘Corpora Million’, where no more than 6000 books per year are samples for the result. There are of course difficulties with punctuations and muti words. Generally the search field is case sensitive and punctuation is treated as individual tokens. More details on this on the Google Ngram page.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the search terms month, year, day, hour and week. The different time units are used differently with the word day leading the table throughout, diving however very low around 1960 where it almost was overtaken by the term year. Have things slowed down? Surprisingly the month and the week, both in planning terms very important words are nowhere compared to the terms, year and day.

However, the results are quite tricky to interpret even though things might look very cear through the simplicity of the graph. Google has managed to make it look very simple and clean, each term is shown as a graph with time on the horizontal x axis and frequency on the vertical y axis. It has to be taken into account however, that there are changes in the usage of words, for example ‘the Great War’ vs ‘World War I’. Even more important is the fact that more and more books are written. This of course influences the results. Google points out that there is only a catalogue of around 500’000 English books before the 19th century. This means, that a search term can have a stronger peak early on than it would have later o, since this one book has more of an impact on the sample as a whole.

Image taken from Google Ngram / Comparing the two search terms rural and urban. As you would expect the word rural dominates and the urabn term only really comes in in the last century with a dramatic peak during the 70ies.

It is a great way to explore different terms especially in combinations. Even term that have a similar meaning can show a dramatic diversion on the graphs over time. Basically it show how trends in language change. Of course also the birth of terms can be observed as some terms only apear after a certain period or after the object has been invented as for example visible in this graph showing the terms used for different rooms in a house or flat. The invention of ‘living’ in architecture around 1900 brought along the terms ‘living room’ and ‘dining room’.

If your are not satisfied with what you can get fromt he graphs, Google has some of the datasets available for download (or HERE for the two Billion Timeseries) and you can have a go at visualising and searching it yourself. Note the file structure thought.

Image taken from Google NGram / Comparing the two search terms twitter and facebook. This is of course ridiculous since both terms were invented after 2000, surprising however how twitter makes a dramatic appearance during the 19 hundreds.

Via The Atlantic

Jean-Baptiste Michel*, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, William Brockman, The Google Books Team, Joseph P. Pickett, Dale Hoiberg, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, Jon Orwant, Steven Pinker, Martin A. Nowak, and Erez Lieberman Aiden*. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science (Published online ahead of print: 12/16/2010)

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More and more studies start to reveil the anatomy of twitter usage. So far it was more guess work as to who is actualy using the social-network-microblogging-news-share-shout platform. Earlier the Twitter Fact sheet gave some information on the general usage overall. This earlier research was focusing on twitter’s performance and service. What it didn’t unveil was the internal structure, who is using it and what they are using it for.

A recent study by the Pew Research Centre has now put together data on twitter usage in America. They have now focused on users and the study has some interesting results. Here are three key findings:
Young adults – Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than older adults.

African-Americans and Latinos – Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
Urbanites – Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.
The age divide and the urban rural divide was expected, more details below, but the ethnicity variations are rather surprising.

The data was collected in October and November 2010 and is therefore very recent. However the twitter landscape changes rapidly and this data soon needs to be reevaluated. For a detailed description on the methodology to collect the data have a read HERE.

In addition to the above three key points a few additional facts stand out. Women (10%) are using the service more actively than men (7%). It is a cliche, but woman are better at multitasking and this is what twitter requires. An active user has to be able to switch between current activity, twitter usage such as catching up with the feed, replay or link and then switch back.

In terms of how often a user checks the feed the categories are drawn very broad. It comes in seven categories of which only two are focusing on the day as a unit, several times a day (24%) and once a day (12%). The other categories are every 1-2 days (12%), every 3-5 days (5%), every few weeks (7%), less often (20%) and never. The never categorie is with 21% about the same as the several times a day with 24% and is of course an important category. However the nature of the twitter service is real time and messages are in the constant flow ephemeral in terms of duration and validity. In this sense categories such as once every 3-5 days don’t make any sense. Instead categories should be smaller capturing peoples adictedness during the day. Everything beyond two days could have been less often and therefore having categories several times per hour, every hour, 1-2 hours, every quarter of a day, twice a day.

Another section of the study looks at the content users actually post. Here the personal stuff (72%) dominates closely followed by work stuff (62%). Probably the work related content was not expected to be this high. It shows that twitter has definitely become a valuable business tool for both distributing and receiving information as well as mingin and getting a feel for trends.
55% are posting news, 54% post “humorous or philosophical observations about life in general”, jokes basically. So very close together thee two categories. This is the same for interaction, as retweets (53%) and messages (52%) are very similar. In terms of additional content 40% share a photo, 28% share a video and only 24% share their location. For photos and videos one can suspect that these categories are just simple to track, but might not be valid.

And lastly, the educational and financial background of the twitter users in this data set. Better educated means your more likely to tweet, but only by a few percent. In terms of income it is interesting that low and high incomes tweet more than middle and very high income. However, this observation corresponds directly with some of the observations we have made in the New City Landscape tweetography maps, especially the London map. Having now these numbers could help interpret these result in more detail.

Some comments on how the study is constructed and what aspects were looked at can be made along the above aspects measured. Similar to the units used to look at the activity in term of time, it almost seems as if who ever set up the framework for this study did not understand how twitter works. The categories are too broad and not specific enough. The temporal aspect was discussed earlier, but also the content of the messages would need to be assessed in more detail. Private and work are broad fields and what can be assumed with these new medias is that them two start to blur quite easily and quickly. This would require specific attention. Further more the fact that all the numbers are simply given a percentage of internet users does not live u to the fact that twitter actually is something new and no longer ‘internet based’ in the classical sense. The study is based on the assumption that all the twitter users are aso interne users, eg access twitter through the website. A lot of twitter users access twitter through a third party client, this could basically be any platform. There is of course also a large group using mobile or smart phones to send or read tweets. This is not in the conventional sense to be classified as internet usage. This is quite unique and new with these services, which would include Gowalla, Foursquare, Stickybits and so on, that they operate through different and new channels.

Here is a graph taken from Flowtown, visualising all the results discussed above. However I am not sure about the gender as well as the education graph, the original data from Pew shows different numbers, the ons used in the description above.

Who’s Using Twitter And How They’re Using It
Image taken from Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application / A visualisation of the study results collected by the Pew Research Centre and put together by Flowtown.

Via Flowtown

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This is sort of movie time at urbanTick. Before you press play here, get your popcorn ready and fill your bottle with whatever. The movie you are going to watch is a dramatic 53:57 long, but it is definitely worth it. The most comprehensive documentation at the moment about the visualisation trend we are currently already in the middle of. ‘Journalism in the Age of Data’ is produced by Geoff McGhee: “Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?”

It covers everything, mainly graphics of course, but also technology, narratives, truth, journalism, documentation, colour, interaction and of course data. Data in many forms and shades. This ranging from free data to collected data, data gathering, data collection, data storage, data cleaning, data preparation, data, data, data, data…

Flight paths
Image by Aaron Koblin / Flight paths over the United States. The colours represent the plane model.

It is great how they get the producers of the visualisations to talk about their work, the movement and the critiques. This makes it a rather personal documentation. Of course you also get to see the best visualisations of the past two years. Of course some of them you have seen here on urbanTick before, including for example the ‘Movie Character Interaction Charts‘ by XKCD, or of course the US flight path maps by Aaron Koblin. But now, GO!

And a note here, you can watch a ‘fuller’ version directly at datajournalism.stanford.edu. It is shown together with additional material and comments as a sort of interactive version.

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Following up from the New City Landscape maps, where we mapped tweet densities in urban areas around the world, we have now started to look into the socia network aspects of this data set. As a complementary graph to the map the network illustrates how the twitter users are connected through their activities and usage of the platform.

Graph by urbanTick / The London NCL Social Network graph of twitter users. The dataset is defined as geolocated tweets collected over the period of one week in the urban area of London set to a 30 km radius. Click on the image for a larger version on flickr or see the interactive zoomable version HERE.

The network is built from nodes and edges, were the nodes are the twitter users active during the time period of message collection back in May 2010. The edges visualise the connections between these users. From the messages sent connections are established based on activity and interaction. In reality these are the @ messages that are directed at one or more particular user. The second indicator of a connection are the RT messages, the message that have been retweeted by followers of the creator of the initial message.

Graph by urbanTick / Zoom of the London NCL Social Network graph of twitter users. The dataset is defined as geolocated tweets collected over the period of one week in the urban area of London set to a 30 km radius. Click for a larger version on flickr.

Using these two methods the network graph is established as a directed network, meaning that the connection between the nodes has a direction since a message originates from a sender being delivered to a receiver.

The resulting network is built from a total of 17618 nodes and 26445 edges. In the case of this London twitter network not everyone is connected to everyone and about 5400 subnetworks were identified. Furthermore via the colouring the modularity of the network is visualised. Each subgroups has a unique colour shading indicating groups with tighter connections.

London NCL Social Network

Graph by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London NCL Socia Network – Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top left corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Click HERE for a full screen view.

The sizing of the nodes is derived from the number of connections this particular node has for both incoming and outgoing edges.

For the comparison of the networks we are currently working on graphing out the whole range of NCL across the world in order to establish a analysis parameter set. We’ll keep you posted about the progress here.

To compare it, the geolocated London New City Landscape map. It is important to keep in mind that the graphs are not spatially representative as compared to the NCL maps which are properly geolocated.

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London New City Landscape Click HERE for a full screen view.

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Finally I took the time to reprocess the UrbanDiary graphs. Since the last time the study sample has grown from 12 to twenty. This is a good sample size and will give a different picture. However it is to say, that the sample is not as consistent as it was with the first batch. They have all undertaken the study more or less during the same time frame, where as now the sample is spread over the period of half a year or more. Nevertheless the individual tracking time remains the same at two month continuously.
Also there is to note, that this time the graphs have been calculated slightly differently. Where as before it was purely on a count basis, this time it is based on the activity percentage per time unit for each participant. This accounts for the effect of one particular active event has on the overall picture.

The weekly graph remains the same. There is significantly less activity during the week days than there is on Saturdays. Even Sunday remains in line with the rest of the week. Why on Saturday participants record almost twice the amount of activity I don’t know at the moment. Is has something to do with outdoor activity, probably some sports.

Image by urbanTick for UrbanDiary – Activity graph per day of the week for twenty participants.

While looking at the weekly pattern, the peaks remain largely the same. There is the nine o’clock peak for the morning rush hour and the six o’clock peak for the evening rush hour. There is also the after peak hour both for the morning and the evening.
Clearer in this graph now is the fact that there are more afternoon activities than morning activity. This most likely has to do with the weekend, particularly the Saturday. I suspect that the large chunk of Saturday recordings are based on afternoon activities.

Image by urbanTick for UrbanDiary – Activity graph per 24 hours of one day for twenty participants.

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Some 25’000 visitors on urbanTick today… over actually!

urbanTick – Graph blog visits per hour, per day and per day per hour

The blog remain stable on the high numbers of visitors over the summer month. It started to increase in May and visitor numbers now are stable around 155 per day over the week.
Regarding the graph, it represents three sets of data in three rings. From inside to outside, he inner bit is the visits per day per hour. The big peaks are still around midday, mid afternoon and four in the morning representing the shift between Europe and America. The middle ring is representing the number of visits per day. Differences here between weekdays and weekends, where the mid week is still a bit between than the beginning and the end. Wednesday remains the most popular day, closely followed by Tuesday. The weekends generally have about half the visitors of these popular days, so it is a dramatic difference. The last ring is the total visits per hour. The peaks are mainly the same as last times, the overall line is smother however with less wiggles.
The topic of body and city as proposed was the topic for the summer and I am just finishing a working paper on this. Some stuff will of course also go on to the blog. A second working paper focusing on the urbanDiary project is also under way. Here a lot of bits and pieces have already featured on the blog, but some stuff is still to come.
I am currently working on my upgrade and will give a presentation, sort of a mini viva either next month or in December. For this I am trying to finish the two papers.
There is also a publication of this blog coming up. Having this platform for a year now, I am planning to publish extracts of it. For this I have joined up with a bunch of researcher working on related topics and they will contribute a short essay to each section. It is all under way and should be ready towards the end of the month. I don’t want to give a way too much of this but the structure of the publication will be roughly:
urbanDiary        urbanMachine        urbanNarrative        timeSpace        bodySpace        LocInfo        Review

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