UK Regions Digital Research Facility (UK RDRF)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Architecture

Abstract

The UK RDRF brings together a number of research strands funded under the DET, EPSRC and ESRC portfolios over the last decade to create a national facility to tackle the vexed question of regional competitiveness and rebalancing the UK economy. Following the Scottish referendum there have been renewed calls for greater devolution to regions and core cities. This facility will bring together the big economic data and construct the high resolution models needed to support policy makers at national, regional and local level. It will innovate by building together a model of the fixed stock of buildings, including housing, commercial, warehousing and manufacturing, with a network model of key infrastructure. This will allow analysis of which policy nudges might be expected to overcome the inertia present in the historic geography of the UK. It will allow a common framework of data and evidence ti be used by regional and local policy professionals wishing to evaluate policy options. The whole facility is built on the opportunity created by CDT funding to develop a cohort of evidence based policy professionals and analysts to support the needs of a more devolved form of planning. We aim to support the creation of a 'community of practice' based on access to big economic data and open source analysis and modelling tools. We will host workshops and networks to spread best practice and create some institutional glue amongst the people concerned. Finally, we will engage local communities in the debate and bring the same evidence and tools to the public at large through crowd science and in-the-wild research engagement.

Planned Impact

The UK Regions Digital Research facility targets beneficiaries at all levels of the UK's economy and society. It aims to transform the way that we support regional policy to allow much greater local sensitivity to context, at the same time as learning from evidence of what works and what does not. By developing support networks and workshops for the policy professional we will build a community of practice for policy professionals working across the UK's cities and regions. The open source technology platform will make available to this community the tools they need to develop policy customised to the specific local context of different regions at the same time as maintaining comparability of methodology and evidence.

If we are successful in helping rebalance the UK economy, there will be beneficiaries in all regions due to a reduction in inequalities (social and health) as well as through greater economic resilience and employment.

Publications


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Arcaute E (2016) Cities and regions in Britain through hierarchical percolation. in Royal Society open science


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Batty M (2015) Divided Britain in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design


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Batty M (2016) Big Data and the City in Built Environment


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Batty M (2017) Urban studies: Diverse cities, successful cities in Nature Human Behaviour

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Batty M (2016) Editorial: Big Data, Cities and Herodotus in Built Environment

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Batty M (2016) Classifying urban models in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design

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Batty M (2016) Empty buildings, shrinking cities and ghost towns in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design

 
Description The impact of the EU referendum vote in the context of the URRDRF project is to demostrate the urgency with which rebalancing the UK economy is required. In addition the issue of identity has been highlighted at a critical factor in UK regions outside London. This will now be brought into our research and delivery.
Exploitation Route We are working with others to deliver open source data and models to inform policy in devolved cities. There is always need for more collaboration.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail,Transport
 
Description Data for Policy Conference 2016 and 2017
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact My Senior Research Associate Dr Zeynep Engin organises and chairs the National Data for Policy Conferences http://dataforpolicy.org/
URL http://dataforpolicy.org/
 
Description EPSRC Impact Accelaration Account (IAA) Award
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP / K503745 / 1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 08/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description ESRC Big Data Network Phase 3 Research Grants
Amount £157,905 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/P010741/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 02/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Title Open source data & analytics platform for Urban Planning 
Description Open source data & analytics platform for Urban Planning for researchers and practitioners 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact yet to be achieved 
 
Description Data Licence Agreement: CACI Ltd 
Organisation CACI Ltd
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Data acquisition for CDRC service
Collaborator Contribution To provide the Consumer Register datasets for 2014-2019 for the purposes of social science research.
Impact Data available to approved CDRC Users through secure tier of CDRC service
Start Year 2015
 
Description Data Licence Agreement: Datatalk Ltd 
Organisation Datatalk Statistical Solutions Ltd
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Data acquisition for CDRC service.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of historic electoral roll (1998-2002) data to CDRC service for the purposes of social science research.
Impact Historic electoral roll data products available through the CDRC Safeguarded and Secure service.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Data for Policy International Conference Series 
Organisation Data for Policy
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Leadership of the conference series.
Collaborator Contribution Funding of the catering & keynote expenses, ensuring participation of key European stakeholders at the Data for Policy 2016 conference.
Impact Data for Policy 2016 hosted around 180 participants from across relevant academic disciplines and sectors.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Ordnance Survey 
Organisation Ordnance Survey
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution - The Ordnance Survey and Urban Dynamics Lab to collaborate on the technical aspects of implementing the large-scale historical time series data archive, and on the analytical outcomes and tools that are derived from it. - The Urban Dynamics Lab to involve interested parties at the Ordnance Survey in relevant events and share relevant research finding with the Ordnance Survey. - For the Ordnance Survey and the Urban Dynamics Lab to collaborate where possible in the exploration and exploitation of the applications of Ordnance Survey historical data archive. - Jointly support a doctoral researcher to utilise the historical data in exploring the relationships between the built environment and economic change. - Beyond the use of historical Ordnance Survey data, that the two organisations cooperate to examine how Ordnance Survey can best support the analytical analysis of urban dynamics, with a view to informing future Ordnance Survey data services and content.
Collaborator Contribution - The Ordnance Survey to utilise and supply the historical archive of Ordnance Survey data for research purposes. - Exploring licensing and accessibility of data. - Jointly support a doctoral researcher to utilise the historical data in exploring the relationships between the built environment and economic change.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2017
 
Description UCL Construction Blockchain Consortium 
Organisation University College London (UCL)
Department Bartlett School of Architecture
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution collaboration with the Bartlett to establish a UK Construction Blockchain Consortium with a consortium of industry partners
Collaborator Contribution collaboration with UCL Blockchain research centre to establish a UK Construction Blockchain Consortium with a consortium of industry partners
Impact Establishment of industry consortium
Start Year 2017
 
Description Alan Turing Summit: Future Cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The UKRDRF Centre Manager and Policy Officer organised the Alan Turing Summit on Future Cities held at RIBA 4th Feb 2016, as part of a series of events funded by the Alan Turing Institute. The event was attended by around 200 people from the academic, industry and policy arena and the presentations on the day raised awareness of the opportunities present in spatial data analytics and urban modelling to address interdependent socio-economic challenges across the national, regional and urban scale.

The event was accompanied by a printed programme and generated a lot of social media activity. UKRDRF project partners Core Cities, Greater London Authority, SAS and Future Cities Catapult took part in presenting at the event. The day presented a good opportunity to engage with partners and make connections to a wider audience and potential future partners and collaborators.

Investigators took part in presenting at the summit under the headlines:
'The Science of Cities' - Prof Alan Penn
'Planning for future cities: modelling and data science opportunities' - Prof Sir Alan Wilson
Panel debate: Opportunities of a data science approach for future cities (Prof Alan Penn, Prof Sir Alan Wilson, Prof Michael Batty)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/events/ati-future-cities
 
Description CKAN Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attended CKANCon16 conference as part of the International Open Data Conference, in order to investigate the suitability of CKAN for a UKRDRF data platform
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://ckan.org/ckancon-2016/
 
Description Cambridge City Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Met with Cambridge Council data analytics team to discuss their data infrastructure and needs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Cambridgeshire County Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Meeting with their Data Analytics team to discuss their data infrastructure and needs, as well as potential collaboration opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/
 
Description Camden Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A meeting with Camden Council Data Analytics Team to potentially initiate joint student projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://opendata.camden.gov.uk/
 
Description DCLG - Cities & Local Growth Unit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Had a meeting with the senior leadership of Cities & Local Growth unit to investigate potential collaboration opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Greater London Authority 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting with GLA data team on the infrastructure of the London Datastore
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://data.london.gov.uk/
 
Description Invited opening keynote speaker, European Commission DG REGIO Workshop: 'How can Regional Policy Benefit from Big Data? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Here I spoke about the merits of Big Data to provide new insights for regional policy; I also referenced some of the key work of the Consumer Data Research Centre and some of its outputs since the grant started.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited opening keynote speaker: Smart Geospatial Expo, Seoul 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I delivered the keynote, where I discussed the work of the Consumer Data Research Centre and fielded questions by attendees, leading to a lengthy discussion and debate. The CDRC reported heightened enquiries post my presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited panellist and presenter at the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference (AAG 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference in San Francisco to debate and discuss various issues pertaining to Geography and the Consumer Data Research Centre, sparking questions and discussions about the CDRC. We witnessed an increase in enquiries post my panel session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description NESTA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Met the authors of the "Wise Council" report Nesta launched in November 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/wise-council-insights-cutting-edge-data-driven-local-government
 
Description Policy Connect - APGDA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Organised a workshop on "Data driven local government" at the Palace of Westminster in collaboration with Policy Connect and the All Party Parliamentary group on Data Analytics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/appgda/home
 
Description Policy network: New Economy Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Meeting with members of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority consultancy arm 'New Economy Manchester (Housing & Planning, Research, Economic Development teams) to establish participating in project policy network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Policy network: Newcastle City Futures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Meeting and presentations with Newcastle City Futures, Urban Living Partnership, Newcastle University to develop project partnerships.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Policy network: West Midlands Combined Authority 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Meeting with members of Birmingham City Council, ODI Birmingham, Impact Hub Birmingham, Transport for West Midlands to present on UDL project and commence partnership as part of UDL policy network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation and general discussion at the Edinburgh Science Festival. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This event was part of the Edinburgh Science Festival. Dr Clémentine Cottineau, along with four invited speakers gave a 10-min presentation each and then the public asked questions and a discussion arose, illustrating increased understanding with general public about urban scaling and the use and real life application of quantitative urban research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.icms.org.uk/activities/futurecities
 
Description Project partner network event: January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Event for core local government partners (West Midlands Combined Authority, New Economy Manchester, Milton Keynes Council, Newcastle City Futures), corporate, data and analytics project partners with the aim of presenting real policy challenges to the team and partners and following this with two workshop sessions developing and discussion potential areas of investigation for the project team. Key outputs: increased understanding for both team about policy context, and policy partners about our research; summary document, ongoing collaborations between researchers and policy partners, making policy partners regular members of our network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Project partner network event: September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact First of quarterly partner and policy network enagement events at Future Cities Catapult, which included 40 academics, professionals and industry partners and saw the research team present on their current research and analytics, followed by an interactive debate on professional, academic and industry requirements for urban and regional spatial analytics. Outputs included video recordings of the proceedings, and individual collaborations with partner organisations (Ordnance Survey).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description UDL Data Ideas Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Organised a Data Ideas Workshop to scope the UKRDRF/UDL Data Platform
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016