Urban dynamics through the lens of human mobility

July 10, 2023

Research graphsNew research from ITS affiliate Civil and Environmental Engineering and City and Regional Planning professor Marta C. Gonzalez and Postdoctoral Associate Yanyan Xu and colleagues on Urban dynamics through the lens of human mobility using a mobility centrality index to delineate urban dynamics in quasi-real time with mobile phone data. https://www.nature.com/articles/s43588-023-00484-5


The urban spatial structure represents the distribution of public and private spaces in cities and how people move within them. Although it usually evolves slowly, it can change quickly during large-scale emergency events, as well as due to urban renewal in rapidly developing countries. Here we present an approach to delineate such urban dynamics in quasi-real time through a human mobility metric, the mobility centrality index ΔKS. As a case study, we tracked the urban dynamics of eleven Spanish cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results revealed that their structures became more monocentric during the lockdown in the first wave, but kept their regular spatial structures during the second wave. To provide a more comprehensive understanding of mobility from home, we also introduce a dimensionless metric, KSHBT, which measures the extent of home-based travel and provides statistical insights into the transmission of COVID-19. By utilizing individual mobility data, our metrics enable the detection of changes in the urban spatial structure.

Read more: rdcu.be/dgvc0