Essential Means for Urban Computing; Specification of Web-Based Computing Platforms for Urban Planning, a Hitchhiker's Guide

Journal of Urban Planning, 2018, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 47–57

Authors: Pirouz Nourian, Carlos Martinez-Ortiz, Ken Arroyo Ohori


This article provides an overview of the specifications of web-based computing platforms for urban data analytics and computational urban planning practice. There are currently a variety of tools and platforms that can be used in urban computing practices, including scientific computing languages, interactive web languages, data sharing platforms and still many desktop computing environments, e.g., GIS software applications. We have reviewed a list of technologies considering their potential and applicability in urban planning and urban data analytics. This review is not only based on the technical factors such as capabilities of the programming languages but also the ease of developing and sharing complex data processing workflows. The arena of web-based computing platforms is currently under rapid development and is too volatile to be predictable; therefore, in this article we focus on the specification of the requirements and potentials from an urban planning point of view rather than speculating about the fate of computing platforms or programming languages. The article presents a list of promising computing technologies, a technical specification of the essential data models and operators for geo-spatial data processing, and mathematical models for an ideal urban computing platform.