Urban Informatics

Why now? Two phenomena make urban informatics possible and necessary for our times: global urbanization and the digital revolution. With urban informatics, large-scale datasets and analytics can be used to address fundamental problems and challenges of city operations, planning, and development, problems that left unchecked will only grow as cities grow.

Global Urbanization

For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 it is predicted that 64.1% of people in the developing world will live in urban areas and 85.9% of the developed world’s inhabitants will call urban areas their home.

Urbanization Rate of Economies

(in percent)


Tweets from smartphones, MetroCard swipes, smart energy meters- New York City is teeming with data sources. Urban informatics combines data from these sources to make the city a better place to live and thrive.

The Digital Revolution Our ability to collect, store, and process data has steadily, and in recent years, rapidly increased since the dawn of the digital age in the 1950s. The development of personal computing made generating digital data part of daily life in offices, homes, and schools. The Internet’s rise sparked an explosion of digital data, especially with the growth of the social web. The spread of mobile technologies, particularly cell phones, which will soon outnumber people, has turned much of the world’s population into individual data factories. Now, with 90 percent of the world’s data having been created in the last two years alone, we stand at a pivotal moment in the history of the digital revolution.

There are more than 1 billion users on Facebook; 743 million of them are active.

The velocity, variety and volume of data coming into Facebook is vast. Overall, 1 out of every 7 minutes is spent on Facebook.

Source: facebook.com