A platform-based approach to urban network analysis

Authors: Ate Poorthuis*, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Luuc van der Zee, University of Amsterdam, Pieter Tordoir, University of Amsterdam
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Cartography
Keywords: spatial interaction modeling, GIScience, visualization, urban networks
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While data on urban networks holds tremendous potential for academics and practitioners, analysis of such datasets requires interdisciplinary collaboration and the bridging of methods and software between spatial and network paradigms. To address these challenges, we posit the potential of browser-based software platforms to integrate more closely the geographic and relational dimensions of urban networks and enable deriving insights from urban network data in an iterative, interactive manner.

As a practical example of this approach, we present an analytical and interactive visualization platform for urban network data, developed in collaboration with several Dutch government agencies. The platform allows users to analyse and visualise, from within their browser, millions of relationships between and within cities in the Netherlands. The platform contains individual-level ('micro') data on daily movements as well as long-term migration of people and companies and can be further filtered based on socio-economic variables. Its modular architecture enables the quick adoption of new methods, allowing users to analyse spatial relationships using a variety of spatial interaction and network modelling approaches and visually inspect and compare the modelling results. As such, platform-based work potentially allows us to bring urban theory and practice in closer dialogue with big data, methods, and algorithms from a range of different fields. It removes some of the technical and disciplinary boundaries that are inevitable in the interdisciplinary field surrounding urban networks and allows researchers from across a wider range of backgrounds to integrate empirical analyses, iterate research ideas faster, and disseminate new methods and findings.

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