How big data can challenge - and validate - the design process

Our cities are under pressure.

The parts of the urban puzzle that make them dynamic hubs fell silent throughout COVID-19 – the public spaces, universities, museums, galleries and sporting centres so critical to our urban narrative.

As we begin to emerge from the initial shock of the pandemic it’s more important than ever for cities to understand how their spaces work and how to attract people back.

One advantage city shapers have but often don’t use to full effect is the increasingly important interplay between design and big data.

The opportunity is to understand historical, current and future dynamics of urban places, by overlaying data sets that tell us how people use a place, how they feel about it, how it’s performed economically and how it relates to other places around it - and in comparison to other similar places, globally,” says Norion Ubechel, CEO of Place Intelligence.

The role of designers in this process is crucial because they can use this data to have much more informed and meaningful conversations with clients to generate outcomes that deliver measurable social, cultural and economic value.

Being able to look at any location anywhere in the world and analyse years of trend related data enables clients to have a lot more confidence in the decision-making process,” says Gerard Corcoran, CEO Hassell.

For episode 1 in the second season of Hassell Talks, Gerard Corcoran joins big data and human insights firm Place Intelligence’s CEO Norion Ubechel to examine the value of data in the design of places people love.

Hassell Talks

Season 2, Episode 1


Gerard Corcoran, CEO, Hassell


Norion Ubechel, CEO, Place Intelligence


Place Intelligence


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I think we’ll see a tremendous adoption of big data technologies into the design world over the next couple of years and we’ll also see new ways that this information is being applied to the decision-making processes that we use.”

Norion Ubechel Place Intelligence

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