I remember being fascinated when I first found out about King’s MSc Urban Informatics course. It seemed like such a fascinating emerging area of study, aligning perfectly with my interests. Now, halfway through the course, these are the five reasons why I love Urban Informatics.
1. It’s Interdisciplinary
The field draws across many different areas like Geography, Urban Theory, Computer Science and Data Science. So while I have a background in Computing, my classmates have backgrounds in Engineering, Urban Planning and more. It’s wonderful to have a taste of these different areas and see the amazing things which can happen when they combine.
2. It’s a growing field
Urban Informatics is an exciting field to be in. There are lots of ways in which you can contribute to the field and be part of its growth to improve the way people live in cities. Even in taking a walk around London, you’ll be able to see many ways in which your Urban Informatics skills can be used all around you: routing ambulances, planning infrastructure and construction, managing the flow of people through the Public Transport network and more.
3. It’s both practical and theoretical
In addition to learning foundational theory, there is also the opportunity to undertake a placement, which is the perfect chance to see these skills applied to a workplace setting. So while you can be learning one day about what makes an effective data visualisation, the next day you’ll be making one yourself.
4. There’s scope to shape your experience by what interests you
I love how the field is applied in so many ways, and whether you want to analyse ambulance wait times or hotspots of crime, the data is there to use! I am a fan of transport, especially being in London with its world-renowned Underground network, so I’ve chosen transport-related areas for my internship and final research project.
5. Finally, there are a multitude of directions to take your career
Whether you want to continue in academia with a PhD, or work in the public or private sector, the choices are yours! Urban Data Scientists will only become more important as data continues to become more available and more crucial to our understanding of the world. City councils, transport operators, governments, spatial mapping organisations, consultancy firms, supermarkets and lots of other big businesses need people to analyse urban data, so where will you take your Urban Informatics degree?