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Ride the Night – 2016

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As the clock hits midnight on Sunday 31st January 2016, thousands of riders will took o the streets of Melbourne, Hobart and Brisbane to Ride the Night, raising funds to break the cycle of disadvantage. The fun started at 22:00 Saturday 30th January, with the ride setting off from midnight. Riders had 7 hours to complete the 65km route touring the city’s most iconic landmarks with entertainment stops along the way for rest, fuel, music and more.

Ride the Night is a partnership between Bicycle Network and Youth Support + Advocacy Service and is Australia’s first ever mass participation night time cycling event. Now back for its second year, we have double the rider spots in Melbourne as well as the opportunity to ride the night in two brand new cities. So light up, grab your bike and help us break the cycle of disadvantage for young people.

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GOVHACK 2015: Melbourne, where are we going?

The following is the entry I was a part of for GovHack 2015, an Australian national ‘hackathon’ to do cool, fun things with data. Our team developed an interactive data viz called ‘Melbourne, where are we going?’ – the project description and link are below!

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‘Melbourne, where are we going?’ is an interactive web visualisation platform that allows the user to explore the relationship of both transport and housing in Victoria – an area where Melbourne and many other Australian cities face many challenges. This is achieved through the numerous open datasets related to transport, the built environment and socioeconomic indicators.

This is an initial prototype targeted as policy / planning tool, a tool to communicate upcoming issues to the public, as well as just an interesting way to communicate data that affects us all. For this reason we have applied for a number of categories related to planning, governance, policy, data journalism, innovation and connected communities.

The interactive visualisation utilises the recently released PTV General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data, extrapolating it into a temporal visualisation of the public transport network movements over time. In this demo, we simulate the approximately 500,000 train stop arrivals that occur throughout the day in Victoria, as a proof-of-concept for the whole transit network.

At the first instance, this enables the data to be seen in a much more engaging way, and at a network level rather than simply a timetable format. This allows users / policy-makers to see how well-serviced an area is during different parts of the day. We all live different lives and adhere to different schedules, so this can firstly help match our lifestyle choices and personal circumstances (such as employment industry or location) with where we live, where we’d like to live, or (if we are a policy-maker) where we should be planning people to live.

One of the factors that distinguishes this between other GTFS-related visualisations is the next dataset. This tool integrates Building Permit Approval data from 2011 to 2014, which is used in order to measure growth in urban development. This allows us to compare where the city is growing in comparison to the level of service the transport network is currently achieving. The challenge with this data is in its geolocation to integrate with the mapping format. This data is very detailed, yet the lowest level of geography provided is street. Here, we mashed the data with the approximately 4,000,000 points in VicMap Address data in order to create an address-weighted estimate of the geolocation of these building approvals over time at a point level. The data was cleaned and filtered to be those used is only for those able to be geocoded for these sets, and only for domestic / residential dwellings.

The third dataset used is the VAMPIRE Index, developed by Griffith University and provided by AURIN. This index can be used to help describe the issue we are explaining and provides a robust description to face, and explain the situation in 2011 and whether or not this is getting worse over time. This index combines our narrative between transport and housing – providing a robust base on which to make sense of the data post-2011.

Future Development: The GTFS data feed is now available in most Australian cities, and would further be applied to create similar tools that are tailored to their transit agencies. Other Australian cities also have similar building permit data, and the VAMPIRE index has been developed by Griffith for multiple as well. As both the GTFS data and the building permit data are regularly updated feeds, if they are collected and archived over time we will be able to further develop this tool in order to track these relationships over time.

AVAILABLE VIA: GOVHACK.CITY-INFORMATICS.COM

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Re.Work Cities

Today I was fortunate enough to have attended a RE.WORK Cities conference at the stunning Tobacco Dock in London.

It was a great opportunity to meet people from fields as diverse as architecture, economics, data security, programming, planning, social work all with a shared, positive interest to make our cities better.

The conference covered topics as diverse as urban mobility, the internet of things, sensors, urban interaction design, synthetic biology and 3D printing.

While there were many highlights there were some topics in particular that stood out.

1) Getting there & shared mobility

Part of the conference included a voucher to use Uber. Uber, at first glance seems like a regular taxi service where one rings up, ask for a taxi, the taxi comes and takes you from A to B. However, experiencing it first hand makes you realise the difference. The whole process was seamless.

One simply opens the app, location is automatically detected, fare is calculated if you enter destination and all nearby drivers are mapped. Once ‘Go’ was pressed, I only had to wait a few minutes until an SMS arrived informing me of the sleek, black car waiting outside. The journey was minimal fuss – just a confirmation of destinations and automatically charged upon arrival.

This experience set the tone for the rest of the day. From this well-integrated process it was clear that some of the topics mentioned, such as driverless cars incorporated with car-sharing schemes, are not impossible future scernaios and are quite achievable with only minor modifications to this user-friendly, yet clearly comprehensive dispatch system offered by this application.

2) Heal-able materials

Erik Schlangen‘s self-healing asphalt and concrete ; not only reducing maintenance cost and time, but implemented on a much larger scale reducing transport disruptions and reduce cost in repairing buildings (such as affordable housing).

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Source : BBC

3) Drones

Earlier this year I was exposed to drone delivery through this news article.

China grounds world’s first CAKE DRONES over fears they might fall on someone’s head as novelty delivery service goes from sweet to sour

While this use of drones was a bit tongue-in-cheek, drones were brought up a few times in the conference.

For example for the creation of parametric structures and for assisted navigation.

4) Changing nature of work / Future Londoners

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The globalisation and Internet are changing the traditional notions of work and work hours. Work-life patterns changing and no longer fitting in the same paradigms. The Future Londoners project, for example, imagines some of these future citizens and how they live and work.

5) New approaches to sustainability

Collecting the carbon pollution and using it as a resource for cities – creating structures from thin air.


There were many more new ideas and projects that I would like to write about in future – hopefully a broadcast of the event comes out to be shared.

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