Open Data Platforms for Cities will provide students and industry professionals with insights and skills to navigate the interactions between the cultural heritage building recognition and protection systems, the housing and commercial market system, and the contemporary land use planning systems.


Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture

Research Centre

City Futures Research Centre

Delivery Mode




What will I learn?

Students will explore open urban big data, and their associated licensing, analysis and visualisation, citizen science, and their links to formulating development policy and facilitating participatory planning. The course will consist of a taught module covering each of these aspects, as well as a practical on how users can both use and contribute novel voluntary geographic information.

Colouring Australia

Colouring Australia is a novel open data platform under development with the City Futures Research Centre (Sydney) and the Alan Turing Institute (London). It is part of the international Colouring Cities Research Programme and is a free knowledge exchange platform, designed to collate, collect, generate, visualise, open spatial data on every building across Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra. 

This course will use Colouring Australia to cover the key themes discussed. The practical module will be technical, covering the functionalities of the Colouring Australia platform, it's available data attributes, and how the data could be used.

Course topics include:

  • Urban Big Data and its Uses
  • Introduction to Open Big Data and Voluntary Geographic Information
  • Open Data Licenses 101
  • Applications and Analyses in Open Urban Big Data
  • Introduction to the Colouring Cities Research Programme

Practical tasks include:

  • Introduction to Colouring Australia
  • Data Preparation and Loading
  • Applied Research Task

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for researchers, students and industries in the fields of city planning, housing and homeless policy, urban geography, land economics, real estate and property, and construction.  

Who is leading this course?

Course Convener

Dr Matthew Ng is a postdoctoral research fellow at the City Futures Research Centre. His interests lie in understanding the dynamics of urban structures based on their underlying transport, population, and economic networks; their linkages in ongoing processes of decay, renewal, and gentrification; and, the role of urban big data and analytics in substantiating development policies to facilitate or intervene in these processes. He holds a PhD from the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, an MSc in International Planning from the Bartlett School of Planning, and a BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Manchester. 


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