Ed. This text was originally published as the introduction to Cities Squared: Making Urban Data Legible.

Data provides solutions to the most pressing challenges that cities face in the 21st century. Advances in data technologies mean that city managers can capture rich data associated with transport, pollution, and social mobility. But how can we visualise this data, and tell stories with it? How can we use maps to tell these stories?

“‘Cities Squared’ extends the work well beyond London’s footprint, into other cities and other ideas. The book is predictably solid, useful, and desirable, as well as insightful, and it’s particularly rewarding to be able to ‘close the loop’ by writing for their publication about the broader context of data about cities, models of cities, and understanding and visualising cities”. — Dan Hill, Doppelgänger and digital twins, urban glimpses and drawing data

Cities Squared: Making Urban Data Legible shows new ways to represent data about cities with maps. The complexities of urban geography can make it hard for people to decipher…

Is your club living within its means or is it trying to buy the title? The Level Wages League is a fairer look at football. What happens when we adjust a club’s league points taking into account their wage bill, leveling the playing field for the smaller, more frugal or more canny organisations?


To determine each team’s Level Wages rank After the flood take that team’s current points total and their annual wage bill*. Each of these is normalised and weighted to allow us to combine them into a final score for each club which we use to create a…

For a light-hearted start to the year, we’ve built a “prediction” generator. You can try it out here, or read on to find out a bit about the thinking behind it.

A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.

Fredrick Pohl, prolific pulp sci-fi author

The turn of a new decade is a chance for both reflection and for looking forward, the practical upshot of which is that Linkedin feeds are clogged with the prognostications of “thought leaders”.

These predictions typically suffer from a couple of problems. Firstly, they can come…

Energy systems are being supported by new vehicle-to-grid technology that allows connected power grids to exchange information and energy with charging electric vehicles. This will allow power grids to operate efficiently and support cleaner technologies.

Bi-directional charging stations are constructed in a way that allows energy to flow to and from electric vehicles and the grid. Drivers will be able to charge their vehicles when parked or release energy from the vehicle’s battery. Electricity is either drawn from the grid or generated by photovoltaic solar panels which charge electric vehicles plugged into the system. …

We have developed a new framework, the car-side/city-side gap, which highlights the opportunity for better relationships between car manufacturers and cities. Car companies and cities need to work better together, especially in data sharing and collaboration in new service development, and the best way forward is an experimental approach.


Our framework is based on the established financial services framework of the buy-side and sell-side in equities trading. (The ‘buy-side’ draw in pension and fund managers who are buying stocks or equities from brokers, and banks that comprise the ‘sell-side’).

The framework

Carmakers and cities currently have very divergent strategies.


At the micro-level…

There are many complexities in making connected cars a viable product. Based on our own experience in the smart mobility sector, we provide recommendations on how carmakers, designing with the city in mind, can unlock commercial success and create a transformative value from data.

Our recommendations

Develop with the city in mind

Establishing initiatives that align with city priorities and add value is critical for businesses. A recent smart mobility project involved developing a data-driven service that allowed city managers to become more efficient and pursue better civic policies.

The project required an in-depth and practical understanding of groups’ and individuals’ motivations and needs. This approach of user-centricity…

On August 28th 2019, a sample of Toyota owners received an email offering to collect their driving data and share it with a third-party partner, Progressive, an insurance company.

Services like this will be commonplace in the next decade as players in the global mobility ecosystem develop the idea of the ‘Connected Car’. Vehicles are creating and accessing more data in real-time. Connected car technology can provide cities and citizens with important benefits such as financial savings, passenger safety and emission reductions.

What are the benefits of connected cars for users?


Safety for drivers and road users is one of connected cars’ main advantages.

Bosch found that connected car…

Smart mobility is a major industrial market, a product of the availability of data, new technologies, and the sharing economy. Services such as Uber, Zipcar and Lyft make use of these technologies and new customer behaviours. Governments are starting to address the challenges and opportunities presented.

The pace of new technologies, business models and startups often outstrips the social, civic, and municipal contexts — and smart mobility is a great example of this. Challenges intertwined with smart mobility, like congestion and emissions, are global and complex — and can only be tackled by fully understanding the needs of the city…

In summary:

  • The creation of value today requires a radically different approach because of data.
  • Standard definitions of ‘data’ and ‘value’, miss the massive creative power of data for any organisation.
  • A new, design-led approach to data unlocks new and transformative kinds of value.

The 21st century business is different because of data

There is a sharp and growing divide between businesses and organisations that recognise, work with, and make data and those that don’t. And the significance of data is broader — by an order of magnitude — than most of us realise when it comes to the creation of value. …

After the flood

A design consultancy developing new digital products and services. www.aftertheflood.com/

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