Urban network analysis

Using graph theory and network analysis techniques to understand how cities work.

How can we leverage network analysis to visualize flows of pedestrians and ultimately design more vibrant cities?

Our urban areas are densifying, and new neighborhoods for urban dwellers are built all around the world. One of the main issues when newly developed neighborhoods spring up all at once is that they can feel “soulless” and “boring”.

In order to create interesting streetscapes that promote human interaction and spark chance encounters, we can leverage network analysis to better locate new neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores, bars, and restaurants. The hypothesis is that an “all day round” active neighborhood with well-located amenities is a safer and more satisfying place to live.

This video presentation was developed during my time at the MIT Media Lab. It uses Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA as a case study to illustrate how simulating and visualizing flows of pedestrians can inform urban planning to create “all day round” active neighborhoods.

The field of network analysis in cities has exploded in recent years, with incredible research coming out of places such as the MIT City Form Lab, but was still in its infancy when this project was undertaken.