Our research - latest updates

The latest updates on our innovative research projects, from the academic researchers working on them, are highlighted in this section.

The projects cover methodology - such as big data management and urban indicators for policymaking - as well as a range of urban topics such as housing, transportation, migration and more.

For more of our latest updates, please visit the News section. If you have any queries about our research, please contact us.


Invisible Fissures in the Glasgow Housing Market: Finding a neighbourhood that feels like home

The Urban Big Data Centre’s University of Sheffield team, in collaboration with University of Glasgow colleagues and others, are investigating a range of issues around diverse populations within cities, and what their neighbourhoods and movements mean for urban life and urban economies. This blog shows how data might be used to help understand different neighbourhoods in a single city, and how that might assist people determine which neighbourhood might suit them best.

Research project: Population movements and economic effect, Urban Transformations


The Full Potential of Social Care Data: A UBDC Researcher’s work with Renfrewshire Council

Individual-level data on the social care people receive has been collected by local authorities in Scotland for the last seven years. Apart from an annual aggregate social care survey collected and published by the Scottish Government, this data is seldom used. This blog provides an update on a UBDC PhD project fully under way, with the support of the Scottish Government and Renfrewshire Council, to dig deeper into social care and health data and improve planning and services.

Research project: Renfrewshire Council social care data analysis


Economic Outcomes of Long Term Childhood Poverty

Agent Based Models “simulate the simultaneous operations and interactions of multiple agents [i.e. people, organisations, etc.] in an attempt to re-create and predict the appearance of complex phenomena”. Using national data about poverty in the U.K. and the U.S., UBDC researchers based at the University of Illinois are working on an Agent Based Model of Social Exclusion, with the open source NetLogo platform as their modelling environment. 

Research project: Understanding institutional, geographic and physical causes of social exclusion


Using social media, app and sensor data to inform transport planning

The way we collect and analyse data is changing. People with smart phones can act as ‘sensors’ in urban areas. Inhabitants are able to report real-time information about events or emergencies, as well as their own activities. This has great potential to increase the speed of communication and response-time in urban management, which can then further encourage public engagement in urban management and planning, as people see their input and data having a positive effect. This blog provides an update on our transport research projects using Twitter data and cycling app data.

Research project: Social Transport with Urban Big Data, Cycling app data for urban planning


Mapping People’s Access to Transport and Jobs – The Spatial Urban Data System (SUDS)

This blog explains how - by using our own Spatial Urban Data System (SUDS) - we're measuring and mapping people’s access to public transport services, jobs, and public services to identify areas suffering from ‘transport poverty’ and estimate the number of people living in those deprived areas. Where government and local authorities aim to reducing social and spatial inequalities, they will benefit from this work by incorporating it into their planning analysis, and use it to support distributing investment on urban infrastructure and design more effectively.

Research project: Urban Indicators


Using Zoopla adverts to examine the private rented sector

The Urban Big Data Centre has purchased data from property website Zoopla, including historical online adverts back to 2010 for the whole of Britain. These data have the potential to fill gaps in our knowledge about the housing market - not just housing sales but also the private rental market. We are currently examining the quality of the data and its potential for use in making accurate estimates of the private rented sector. Although at an early stage, the results are very encouraging and we are sharing some of the results in this blog.

Research project: Private rented housing and social justice