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Visualising the Future: Big Data and the Built Environment - Prof Paul Linden

Building on four years of material generated by the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and Environment, this report examines the future use of big data in the built environment. Experts from academia, government and private companies were invited to join monthly discussions in the Forum over four years of meetings. Big data within cities was a recurring theme and core challenges and opportunities for the advancement of the use of big data were examined.

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[Final Report]

Building on four years of material generated by the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and Environment, this report examines the future use of big data in the built environment. Experts from academia, government and private companies were invited to join monthly discussions in the Forum over four years of meetings. Big data within cities was a recurring theme and core challenges and opportunities for the advancement of the use of big data were examined. From the Forum’s database key individuals were selected for semi-structured interviews to further examine the identified areas regarding big data. Further interviewees were selected via recommendations from the original selection of participants. This report amalgamates the central elements of these interviews with observations from the Forum and a review of literature.

The report considers how barriers vary for different sectors when it comes to the utilisation of big data within the built environment; these include budgetary pressure, resource allocation, technical challenges resulting from legacy systems, crossing organisational boundaries (even within connected public sector entities), data access and privacy concerns at an individual level. The need for regulation, either formally through legal structures or by the evolution of social norms, is explored, while considering the challenge of regulating a rapidly developing area of technology. Related to all these points is the key challenge of engaging people who live and work in cities. While many of these barriers may be applicable across the globe, UK-specific applications are explored in more detail.

The opportunities on the horizon stemming from big data are also considered. Big data is not a panacea for the world’s problems but will allow for the optimisation of systems and the identification of as yet unknown patterns. This is particularly valuable for understanding cities, where innovation and growth are rapidly advancing. The ability to alter policies in a dynamic and real-time environment can allow for far more efficient resource allocation and supply and demand monitoring in cities both now and in the future.

Researchers:


Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)


Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)


Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP)

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Welcome to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.  

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.