Using mobility data as proxy for measuring urban vitality


  • Patrizia Sulis
  • Ed Manley
  • Chen Zhong
  • Michael Batty


spatial big data, mobility flows, urban vitality, temporal patterns, urban dynamics


In this paper, we propose a computational approach to Jane Jacobs' concept of diversity and vitality, analyzing new forms of spatial data to obtain quantitative measurements of urban qualities frequently employed to evaluate places. We use smart card data collected from public transport to calculate a diversity value for each research unit. Diversity is composed of three dynamic attributes: intensity, variability, and consistency, each measuring different temporal variations of mobility flows. We then apply a regression model to establish the relationship between diversity and vitality, using Twitter data as a proxy for human activity in urban space. Final results (also validated using data sourced from OpenStreetMap) unveil which are the most vibrant areas in London.