Big Data for healthy cities

Miller H.J. and Tolle K. (2016), “Big Data for healthy cities: Using location-aware technologies, open data and 3D urban models to design healthier built environments,” Built Environment, 42, 441-456.

Abstract:  A healthy city is a built environment that encourages physical, mental and social wellbeing. Few neighbourhoods and communities in the United States and increasingly elsewhere in the world are healthy places. A major factor is changes in built environments and lifestyles that have not only eliminated physical activity from daily lives but can also make physical activity unpleasant, unhealthy and unsafe. The development and deployment of sensors connected to location-aware technologies are improving the scientific understanding of built environment characteristics that facilitate healthy and safe physical activity. This paper argues that integrating data from these with new sources of urban data can allow for deeper understanding of the intricate relationships between individuals, environments and healthy places. We discuss the need for an integrated, ecological approach to understanding healthy places and the role of location aware technologies, open data and 3D urban models in facilitating this approach. We also identify major challenges to this approach, including privacy protection.

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