The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Sharon Richardson

Thesis title: Digitally sensing and evoking behavioural change in urban spaces

Primary supervisor: Professor Andrew Hudson-Smith
Secondary supervisor: Dr Hannah Fry
Starting date: December 2015
Projected completion date: November 2019

Sharon joined CASA in October 2014 to study for the MSc in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics, passed with distinction. Her MSc thesis ‘Measuring mobile digital footprints: A modern index of urban interaction’ won Student of the Year for Geospatial Excellence in 2015, awarded by the Association for Geographic Information, and formed the basis for undertaking a PhD.

Sharon's research is focused on behavioural data science and creating digital methods to enhance spatial cognition. It is based on the growing use of mobile, wearable and embedded devices with built-in sensors and wireless internet connectivity - the ‘internet of things’ - that are emitting vast amounts of data about spatial interactions and the conditions under which they occur. All behaviour results from a person-situation interaction. This research will evaluate if it is now possible to digitally construct situational contexts from real-time data sources to detect emerging scenarios and anticipate behaviour. The target outcome is to improve judgement and decision-making in large-scale urban outdoor spaces, where conditions can be uncertain and changeable.

This research is funded by a grant from the EPSRC. The spatial context is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London.