×F4. Urban observatories and city benchmarking

There is a growing awareness of the need to mix the quantities of city building and qualities of city living to gain a clearer understanding of future cities. Many urban quantities and the attendant qualities can be measured, monitored, and learned from. Walkability, transit hours of service, street layouts, shop frontages, park space, tree canopy health and cover, day care centres, housing, retail turnover, jobs, rates of pay and so many more are concerns. Moving away from the well-publicised rankings by the Economist, Monocle or other how should we observe, benchmark, and make recommendations.

Using the latest in Machine Learning, the oldest of passive observation, the richness of storytelling ethnographies, the process of public space design, or the ground-truth of social life suggested by GIS data there are many researchers filling the gaps. Quantifiably, changes are happening. Qualitatively, the changes must be palatable for making city life richer.

We invite original research papers addressing one (or several) of the challenges, principles or characteristics of observation and benchmarking in current cities with insights into what the cities of the future will comprise.

Key topics: City building, City living, Future, Observatories