For Membership & Sponsorship Enquiries +44 (0)20 7591 3116
March 1st, 2019 4:30 PM   to   6:00 PM

The University of Edinburgh home

Prof. Alison Heppenstall

Geography, University of Leeds

Title: Bringing the Social City to the Smart City

Technological developments, such as the rise in GPS enabled devices and Web 2.0 technologies have created social transformations in how we connect and share information through the mass uptake of smart phones and social media platforms. This new generation of mobile technologies work as individual sensors capturing data on a wide range of human behaviours that have been previously unavailable. These include data on individual movement, preferences and opinions. Understanding these behaviours is crucial if we are to create a holistic approach to simulating how cities breathe and grow. However, considerable work is required in adapting and developing new technologies from machine learning to extract behaviours which can be embedded into cutting-edge modelling techniques. Creating this bridge between ‘big’ data representing the ‘real’ world, and simulations producing alternative versions of reality is of value to both academics and policymakers looking to develop new solutions to many of the challenges that today’s cities face. To do this we need to understand how factors within the “Social City” (the impact of individual movements and decisions) play out every day in the “Smart City” (data collected from fixed sensors on for example, traffic counts or air pollution).

This presentation will give an overview of work that is being undertaken through an ESRC-Alan Turing Fellowship to address the challenges of bringing the social city to the smart city.

About the series

A Seminar Series in GIS, Remote Sensing, and GeoInformatics organised by the Edinburgh Earth Observatory in conjunction with the AGI-Scotland

These are then followed by AGI Geo-Drinks in Teviot Library Bar, EH8 9EJ at 5:45 allowing plenty room for informal professional networking. 


Geography Department
University of Edinburgh
Drummond Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9XP
United Kingdom

Show large map


1 Kensington Gore,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 3116