The building stock is a city’s most significant socio-cultural and economic resource and its largest capital asset. Buildings are also where we spend most of our lives and most of our money, and where enormous potential for energy and waste reduction lies.
To help improve the quality, sustainability and resilience of building stocks, and to help reduce emissions from them, comprehensive information on their composition, operation and dynamic behaviour are required. However in many countries relevant data are extremely difficult to obtain, often highly fragmented, restricted, missing or only available in aggregated form.
Colouring Cities sets out to address this issue. The initiative develops open code to facilitate the construction and management of low cost public databases, which double as knowledge exchange platforms, providing open data on buildings, at building level. These are provided to answer questions such as: How many buildings do we have? Which building types, uses, construction systems, ages, styles and sizes are located where? How repairable, adaptable and extendable are they? How long can they last if properly maintained? How energy efficient are they? Can they easily be retrofitted? Who built them and what is their ownership type, and how well do local communities think they work?
Colouring Cities also looks to advance a more efficient, whole-of-society approach to knowledge sharing on buildings and cities, allowing for permanent databases to be collaboratively maintained and enriched, year-on-year, by citizens, academia, government, industry and the voluntary sector. Colouring London https://colouringlondon.org/, our live prototype, has been built and tested over the past five years using a step-by-step collaborative approach which has involved consultation with academia, government, industry, the voluntary sector and the community (working across science, the humanities and the arts). It looks to test four approaches to data provision-collation of existing open uploads, computational generation, local crowdsourcing and live streaming.
In 2020 the Colouring Cities Research Programme was set up at The Alan Turing Institute to support international research institutions wishing to reproduce and co-work on Colouring Cities code at city or country level. We are currently collaborating with academic partners in Lebanon, Bahrain, Australia, Germany and Greece and Switzerland.
Watch the Hub Insight to learn more about the project and the opportunity to get involved.
If you'd like to get involved please do test our site and add any recommendations for features you would like in our discussion thread https://discuss.colouring.london/. Or, if you are a public body or DTHub industry member wishing to increase open access to your infrastructure datasets, and/or to digital twin visualisations, relating to the building stock, please contact Polly Hudson at Turing.
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