Consolidating Dockless Cycles in London

A bylaw is being drafted between the 32 London borough councils (and the City of London) to introduce a coordinated approach to managing dockless micromobility sharing, such as bikeshare and (should future national legislation permit it) escootershare, across London. Currently, each council sets its own policy with regards to dockless cycle operators in their area, … Continue reading Consolidating Dockless Cycles in London

Continue reading »

Use vs Theft: Risks and Rewards for Dockless Bike Operations in London

When running a fleet of dockless bikeshare bikes, one of the potentially most costly problems is theft of the bicycles. They aren’t attached to anything if they are dockless, even if they are in a marked “hub”, and, even if the bikes are typically heavier than a personal bike, they can still be easy targets … Continue reading Use vs Theft: Risks and Rewards for Dockless Bike Operations in London

Continue reading »

Then There Were Eight

Two bicycle sharing systems have launched in London in the last fortnight, joining four systems already on the streets of central London and two more on the edge of the capital: Freebike launched a system based in the City, Islington, Hackney, Camden, Kensington, Chelsea and parts of Lambeth and Wandsworth along the river. Essentially, central … Continue reading Then There Were Eight

Continue reading »

House Price Performance Variations in London Over 23 Years

This map shows how different parts of London have over/underperformed with respect to the capital as a whole, with a 1995 baseline. Green areas have increased in price by more than the London median, while pink areas have underperformed, increasing by a smaller percentage from their 1995 baseline price, compared with the rest of London. … Continue reading House Price Performance Variations in London Over 23 Years

Continue reading »

How the Victorians Mapped London’s Cholera

It is, of course, John Snow who is credited with using maps to demonstrate that the clusters of deaths from cholera in London’s Soho during London’s 1854 outbreak were caused by contaminated water. This marked a major shift in thinking away from the disease being transmitted through dirty air: the more widely accepted theory at […]

Continue reading »

Dockless Bikeshare in London: Part 2

The Guardian newspaper has published an online article about the rise and fall of dockless bikeshare, focusing on the pure dockless systems in England (there aren’t any in the rest of the UK) that grew in 2017, and then shrank last autumn. The article extensively used some of the geospatial boundary data that I have … Continue reading Dockless Bikeshare in London: Part 2

Continue reading »

Spatiotemporal Variation in Travel Regularity

It seems life and work is less than compatible with #content generation for this blog, so ‘why don’t I just’, I figure, ‘write a short piece about the research I have been doing in all this time’. I also figured this was a good idea, so here is the first in what I’m going to …

Continue reading “Spatiotemporal Variation in Travel Regularity”

Continue reading »

London’s 9 Million Day – Delayed

I’ve been keeping an eye on London’s population projections, and indeed have featured them in a couple of presentations recently – at a TedX event and also a CRUK data visualisation conference at The Crick. By taking the most recent mid-year population estimates for London, and the annual population change, I can simply linearly extrapolate … Continue reading London’s 9 Million Day – Delayed

Continue reading »

Bikeshare in London – The Last 12 Months

I recently presented at the CoMoUK Good Mobility Conference in East London, looking at the story of bikeshare in London over the last 12 months ago, touching a little on other systems in the UK. Here are my slides, slightly updated from the conference itself: While the core of the presentation was a timeline, numbers … Continue reading Bikeshare in London – The Last 12 Months

Continue reading »

Population Analysis of London Bikeshare Systems

Mobike, one of London’s four bikeshare operators (with Urbo, Ofo and Santander Cycles) as today expanded to Newham. The operators are being driven by different borough approaches and priorities, which is resulting in a patchwork quilt of operating areas, although the London Assembly is today pushing for a more London-wide approach to regulation of the … Continue reading Population Analysis of London Bikeshare Systems

Continue reading »

FOSS4G UK 2018 Meeting and OpenLayers 4

I attended and presented at the FOSS4G UK conference in central London, in early March. I was scheduled to present in the cartography track, near the end of the conference, and it ended up being an excellent session, the other speakers being Charley Glynn, digital cartographer extraordinaire from the Ordnance Survey, who talked on “The … Continue reading FOSS4G UK 2018 Meeting and OpenLayers 4

Continue reading »

Future Transport Report and Dockless in London

The GLA published an interesting report last week: Future transport – How is London responding to technological innovation. It focused mainly on drones, driverless cars and app-based services (as an example, CityMapper’s experimenting on turning its huge desire-line dataset, created from the data of its millions of users and their journeys, into a group-based taxishare … Continue reading Future Transport Report and Dockless in London

Continue reading »

Point Pattern Analysis using Ecological Methods in R

Here is a quick example for how to get started with some of the more sophisticated point pattern analysis tools that have been developed for ecologists – principally the adehabitathr package – but that are very useful for human data. Ecologists deploy point pattern analysis to establish the “home range” of a particular animal based […]

Continue reading »

Three Bikeshare Systems now Competing Directly in London

Following Ofo’s recent expansion to Islington and the City of London, Mobike has today also expanded to Islington and the City – here’s a set of operator-placed bikes outside Cally Road tube station: This presumably means that you can now cycle from Acton in Ealing, the original London location for Mobike, to Islington, for 50p/half … Continue reading Three Bikeshare Systems now Competing Directly in London

Continue reading »

London’s Population Profile in 1935

The graphic below shows the population of London across a number of transects overlain on the city’s underlying terrain. It was produced by Ordnance Survey in 1935 and is one of the few early examples I’ve seen of the organisation producing “data visualisations” alongside their famous maps (they do a lot more of this now […]

Continue reading »

Five Bikeshares in London

Bikeshare system coverage in London, November 2017. Shading: Proportion of people who cycle to work. There are now five bikeshare systems operating in London: Santander Cycles (Central London) Photo: Copyright TfL. Santander Cycles are red, they launched in July 2010 and have around 9500 bikes on the street (12000 reported), covering an area of 110km … Continue reading Five Bikeshares in London

Continue reading »

Book – Landscape Observer: London, on Pops and Democracy

London has seen a boom in inner-city developments over the past five to ten years. Large areas have been transformed, become densified in many ways and existing development has been replaced to make way for huge investments. Along it came a number of landscape projects to design pleasing outdoor spaces.

London is comparably green for its size with many streets tree-lined and many public parks. However, the everyday location in this bustling city is still dominated by hard surfaces. Greenery is rare and often not maintained. Especially with the government’s ongoing austerity programmes, the local councils struggle to keep up maintenance.

To distinguish themselves investors invest big in the design of the surroundings of their buildings. It underlines the quality to justify sky-high rents. The public is invited in to generate footfall for rented spaces. Where previously private property was fenced off, investors have discovered the potential of beautiful spaces. It seems a win-win situation, the public gets more greened spaces, the local councils get well maintained outdoor spaces and the investors can secure their investment.

The numerous places that have sprung up across London are now documented in a new JOVIS publication Landscape Observer: London by Vladimir Guculak. The book acts as a guide, but also a repository of not just a handful, but some 89 projects. Ranging from large-scale projects like Kings Cross redevelopment in central London to the Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich and other smaller projects.


Image own / Title page of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

Each project is in detail documented with photographs by the author, a landscape architect himself, with additional information about location, size, year, designer, nearest public transport and accessibility information. Each chapter is proceeded by a map that helps locate each open space in the context of the city.

It is a beautifully designed publication complete with artwork by the author. With the photographic documentation, the publication gives an overview of the project and a number of detail shots to highlight specific areas and in some cases construction details. Along the photos, the author does give a brief listing of plants included, materials used and other special features such a street furniture and lighting.

Image taken from London Fieldwork / Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

It also features a personal favourite the Duncan Terrace Gardens (p.18). With a very inspiring artwork by London Fieldwork Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven. Or the nice-to-be-in-the-summer-with-kids Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park.

The weather is always extremely sunny throughout this publication and everything is documented in bloom with green lush leaves. It might seem a good idea to show summer, but landscaping has to work 12 months a year not only three or four. This is especially true for English weather and seasons. Colourful autumn leaves are as beautiful if not more so and stormy or rainy conditions can make for dramatically romantic scenes. So not why not make use of it?

However, there are some more important problems with this publication. And it’s not that something like the John Lewis Rain Garden (p.81) designed by the prominent designer (Nigel Dunnett) of the 2012 Olympic Parc in Stratford (now Queen Elizabeth Olympic Parc) features as a model “public space”. The main problem is the nonchalant attitude towards public space.

Public space is one of the most important principles to an accessible and shared city that is open to everyone. It is highly political and can be linked to the concept of the city-state in ancient Greece with the Agora, the foundation of democracy. See for example Sennett, Richard, 1998. The Spaces of Democracy, 1998 Raoul Wallenberg Lecture or Henry Lefebvre, 1974 (1991 e). The Production of Space, Blackwell. p.237-241. We don’t need to launch into a manifesto for the open city here, others have done so much more thoroughly. Nevertheless, the open and shared spaces are fundamental to living together in an open democratic city.

The problem with public spaces is the creeping rise of POPS or pseudo-public spaces. These spaces look and feel like public spaces but are in fact private spaces. They are on privately owned land and therefore are governed by a very different set of rules. Rules that are made up by the private owner and rarely publicly shared. The fact that one can access a street, a square or a riverside does not for a long shot make it public space.

The Guarding has recently run a couple of stories on the rise of pseudo-public spaces in London and together with GiGL put together a database of such spaces in the UK and especially London. The Guardian has put together a quick guide to POPs here, listing important points such as “…appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and corporations.” or “…“Pops” – are not subject to ordinary local authority bylaws but rather governed by restrictions drawn up the landowner and usually enforced by private security companies”, noting “…public access to pseudo-public spaces remains at the discretion of landowners” and “…alter them at will. They are not obliged to make these rules public.”

Image taken from the Guardian / Map shwing the pseudo-public spaces around central London. The data has been put together in colaboration between the Guardian and GiGL and is available as open data.


Image taken from the Guardian / View of Canary Square, Kings Cross with square and fountain and the UAL in the background.

One of the most prominent areas of these new breeds of urban spaces is the area around Kings Cross with Granary Square, Wharf Road Gardens, Gasholder Park and more. It has become over the past two or so years a very popular meeting place with new restaurants, soon to be open shopping, housing and the UAL at the centre of it. It is a very cleverly disguised pseudo-public space with the university at the centre, a very large square with a sort of public program and fountain as well as access to the Regents Canal, Kings Cross and St. Pancras station.

All of these are listed in the discussed publication as examples and many more such as St Pancras Square and Regents Place to list a few. Interestingly the author does make a reference to what he calls “political activists” presumably campaigning for public spaces. Examples listed on other news sites such as BigThink list some of the implications:

In 2011, Occupy protesters were removed from Paternoster Square, outside the London Stock Exchange, on the grounds that they were trespassing on private land owned by the Mitsubishi Estate Company.

In Pancras Square, part of King’s Cross Estate, lying down on the grass is okay, but not sleeping. One homeless man told the Guardian that as soon as he shuts his eyes, he is accosted by security guards.

Taking pictures is becoming increasingly problematic, with photographers being informed by security guards that they are on private land, and their activity is subject to prior permission – even in what looks like public space, such as Tower Place, adjacent to the Tower of London.

Public drinking is considered sufficient reason for removal from certain Pops.

A lot of data has been put together by GiGL and the Guardian on sites in London and has been published as open data here.

This implicates the publication and the approach to some extent. It raises serious questions about the use of terminology or the understanding put forward of public and space. But it does not question the intention of the author. It was put together from a practitioners point of view, probably aimed at peers. Focusing on materials and practices, but then was opened to a wider audience, as hinted in the foreword.

Image own / Spread of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

Not just, but especially as professionals in urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, public officials and other roles involved in the planning and maintenance of public spaces, we have to be extremely careful and precise with the terminology to ensure and preserve these fundamentally important features of an open and accessible city, our open society and ultimately democracy are not undermined.

Never the less it is one of the most comprehensive collections of recent landscape architecture projects in the centre of London and as such a valuable contribution, even if vague regarding terminology and location mapping. Extensive preview available on the publisher JOVIS’ website

Image own / Cover of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

Continue reading »

Dockless Bikeshare in London – oBike is Here

London has a new bikeshare system – and it’s appeared by surprise, overnight. oBike is a dockless bikeshare. The company is based in Singapore, where it runs a number of large dockless systems there and in China, Australia and the Netherlands, it is also likely coming to Washington DC in the USA and to Berlin … Continue reading Dockless Bikeshare in London – oBike is Here

Continue reading »

Evolution of London’s Rush Hour Traffic Mix

My latest London data visualisation crunches an interesting dataset from the Department of Transport. The data is available across England, although I’ve chosen London in particular because of its more interesting (i.e. not just car dominated) traffic mix. I’ve also focused on just the data for 8am to 9am, to examine the height of the … Continue reading Evolution of London’s Rush Hour Traffic Mix

Continue reading »

Lives on the Line v2: Estimated Life Expectancy by Small Areas

I’ve produced an updated version of a graphic that my colleague Dr James Cheshire created a few years ago, showing how the estimated life expectancy at birth various throughout the capital, using a geographical tube map to illustrate the sometimes short-distance changes. You can see an interactive version on my tube data visualisation platform. Click … Continue reading Lives on the Line v2: Estimated Life Expectancy by Small Areas

Continue reading »

Smart Mobility Meeting in Mexico City

Below is a presentation that combined my talks last Thursday and Friday at the Smart Mobility forums in central Mexico City, organised by ITDP Mexico and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Prosperity Fund (respresented by the British Embassy in Mexico). The Thursday presentation focused on the third-party app ecosystem that exists around bikesharing … Continue reading Smart Mobility Meeting in Mexico City

Continue reading »

Big Data Here: The Code

So Big Data Here, a little pop-up exhibition of hyperlocal data, has just closed, having run continuously from Tuesday evening to this morning, as part of Big Data Week. We had many people peering through the windows of the characterful North Lodge building beside UCL’s main entrance on Gower Street, particularly during the evening rush … Continue reading Big Data Here: The Code

Continue reading »

Big Data Here

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) at UCL is organising a short pop-up exhibition on hyperlocal data: Big Data Here. The exhibition is taking place in North Lodge, the small building right beside UCL’s main entrance. The exhibition materials are supplied by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). Inside, a big projection shows local … Continue reading Big Data Here

Continue reading »

Busiest Tube Station Times

Here are the busiest tube station quarter-hour periods, based on the Transport for London 2015 RODS data (modelled, based on typical autumn weekday), used in TubeHeartbeat, adding together entries, exits and interchange stats and excluding Kensington Olympia. The main pattern shows that stations further out from London’s main work areas (The West End, the City … Continue reading Busiest Tube Station Times

Continue reading »

Open Source Public Transport Accessibility Modelling

The RGS-IBG annual conference has been on this week, and I presented as part of a series of geocomputation sessions arranged in advance of the 21st anniversary Geocomputation conference in Leeds next year. The topic was current CASA research from the RESOLUTION project, looking at developing fast and consistent methods of measuring public transport accessibility between different … Continue reading Open Source Public Transport Accessibility Modelling

Continue reading »

Tate Modern Switch House: a New Perspective on London

High rise developments are often exclusive private spaces, as attested by the current glut of luxury flats, hotels and offices rising across Inner London. Even recent developments advertising their public space credentials have come up short, with for example the Shard’s fantastic views costing £25 entry fee, or the Walkie-Talkie’s ‘skygarden’ amounting to an expensive restaurant and some pot plants. … Continue reading Tate Modern Switch House: a New Perspective on London

Continue reading »

London’s Bikeshare Needs A Redistribution of Stations

Here’s an interesting graph, which combines data on total journeys per day on London’s bicycle sharing system (currently called “Santander Cycles”) from the London Data Store, with counts of available bicycles per day to hire, from my own research database. The system launched in summer 2010 and I started tracking the numbers almost from the … Continue reading London’s Bikeshare Needs A Redistribution of Stations

Continue reading »

New Citizen Science for air quality campaign

Mapping for Change, the social enterprise that I co-founded, has been assisting community groups to run air quality studies for the past 5 years. During this period we have worked in 30 communities across London, carrying out studies with different tools – from collecting leaves, to examining lichens, to using diffusion tubes. We have also followed … Continue reading New Citizen Science for air quality campaign

Continue reading »

Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data




As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.

The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D visualisation.
If the following YouTube video is not displayed on your device, please use this link. 





Continue reading »

Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data

As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D …

Continue reading »

Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data




As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.

The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D visualisation.
If the following YouTube video is not displayed on your device, please use this link. 





Continue reading »
1 2 3 7