Colouring London and the Colouring Cities Research Programme

The Alan Turing Research Institute has updated on its open source software programme for platforms able to collect, collate, visualise and release open data on building stocks.

… building stock is a city’s most significant socio-cultural and economic resource…

… in many countries relevant data are extremely difficult to obtain…

The Turing Institute writes:
The building stock is a city’s most significant socio-cultural and economic resource and its largest capital asset. Buildings are also where we spend most of our lives and most of our money, and where enormous potential for energy and waste reduction lies. In order to improve the quality, sustainability and resilience of building stocks, and to help reduce emissions from them, comprehensive information on their composition, operation and dynamic behaviour are now required. However in many countries relevant data are extremely difficult to obtain, often highly fragmented, restricted, missing or only available in aggregated form.

Colouring Cities sets out to address this issue. The initiative develops open code designed to facilitate the construction and management of low cost, open data platforms, providing twelve types of data on buildings, at building level. These are needed to answer questions such as: How many buildings do we have? Which building types, uses, construction systems, ages, styles and sizes are located where? How repairable, adaptable and extendable are they? How long could they last if properly maintained? How energy efficient are they? Can they easily be retrofitted? How do they relate to the plot, street? What is their green context? Who built them and what is their ownership type, and how well do local communities think they work?

Colouring Cities also looks to advance a more efficient, whole-of-society approach to knowledge sharing on buildings and cities, allowing for permanent open databases to be collaboratively maintained and enriched, year-on-year, by citizens, academia, government, industry and the voluntary sector. Colouring London, our live working prototype, has been built and tested over the past five years using a step-by-step collaborative approach. This has involved over sixty UK partners and two hundred consultees from academia, government, industry, the voluntary sector and the community (working across science, the humanities and the arts) as well as our platform users.

In 2020 the Colouring Cities Research Programme was set up at The Alan Turing Institute to support international research institutions wishing to reproduce and co-work on Colouring Cities code at city or country level. We currently collaborate with academic partners in Lebanon, Bahrain, Australia, Germany and Greece.

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