Workshop on Big Data and Urban Informatics



Big Data has opened up several opportunities to obtain new insights on cities. We invite papers at the intersection of the urban social sciences and the data sciences to be presented in an NSF-sponsored workshop to be held on Aug 11-12, 2014, in the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. We hope that the workshop will generate discussions in this emerging area of research, with the goal of long-term community-building on the topic. Travel funds will be available for presenters.

We welcome papers that discuss research results as well as idea pieces of work in progress which highlight research needs and data limitations. Workshop papers will be published in an online workshop proceeding. Selected papers will be published, after additional peer-review, in an edited book.

The objective of the workshop is to bring together researchers with an interest in the use of Big Data for urban analysis. The focus will be on understanding of urban systems, and related examples of urban applications, methods and tools. We are seeking papers that clearly create or use such novel sources of information for urban and regional analysis. Urban and regional analysis spans a broad range of areas. A far from complete list of areas include transportation, environment, public health, land-use, housing, economic development, labor markets, criminal justice, population demographics, urban ecology, energy, community development and public participation.

We invite original research, including position papers, on theoretical developments and applications demonstrating the use of urban Big Data, and the next-generation of Big Data services, tools and technologies for urban informatics. We are interested in papers that use Big Data in one or more of the following five themes:

1)      Theoretical developments and knowledge discovery in urban systems;

2)      Planning and operational uses of urban Big Data;

3)      Urban Big Data measurement, analysis and methodological questions;

4)      Information management for urban informatics;

5)      Institutional issues, organizations, networks and infomediaries in urban Big Data.

Travel funds of up to $700 will be available for a single presenter per paper, on a reimbursement basis. Student presenters will be able to compete for an additional limited pool of funds, for upto an additional $250 per student presenter.

Dates: Extended abstracts of 750-1000 words are due April 1, 2014. Full papers for accepted presenters will be due July 15, 2014.

For more information on the workshop, please visit

For additional information, please contact Prof. Nebiyou Tilahun at ntilahun AT

About Hayward

B Street Crossing, Hayward California
B Street Crossing, Hayward California

I went to Berkeley to go to Hayward, where I gave a talk at CSU East Bay. I had only been there once, about 15 years ago. My flickr photos of Hayward are here.

Hayward is an older early 20th century town that I believe is geographically determined as the intersection of the extension of Altamont Pass and the Railroads parallel to the Bay. It was always part of the Bay Area economy, but got absorbed as part of the continuum of development encircling the Bay in the mid-20th century. Wikipedia discusses the history here.

BART came to town, and is the focal point of downtown, which has seen some attempts at revival. While most of the storefronts are leased, these do not appear to be high end shops, though there is a very nice independent book store. (The Bay Area seems to have more independent book stores remaining than most of the rest of the US). Still non-glitzy shops need a place to be, so this is an observation of the character of the neighborhood and the opposite of a condemnation of its lack of yuppie gentrification.

Part of the problem with Hayward is how some of the streets (not B Street where the shops are strongest) but some parallel and perpendicular routes, are totally given over to the auto, and function as high speed freeway entrance ramps.

The CSU campus (formerly CSU-Hayward, now CSU-East Bay) is in the hills, and has a nice set of buildings which seem to be dating from the 1960s through the present day, surrounded by acres and acres and acres of surface parking lots. It is not expected you will get to campus except by car or bus, and it is too far to walk from BART (which  came a little bit after the campus, which was founded in 1957, and moved here in 1961). This probably reflects its history as a commuter school, and surely many if not most students and staff do arrive by car, given its location and design. This is in clear contrast with UC Berkeley, which has very little parking available, and most students (who live on or near campus) walk, bike, or take transit.