City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Visualising cities, moving cities, hearing cities

Written in


A late night snap of some proper streets in Barcelona


A quick update to point you at a recent post about the issues in visualising data about cities, some others on mobility and the city, and a few pieces dug out from the archive.

Doppelgängers and digital twins

Last summer I wrote a foreword for a new book by my old friend and colleague Max Gadney. The book is just out now, and is called Cities Squared: Making Urban Data Legible, and it concerns the London Squared project I’d commissioned Max’s company, After the Flood, to produce when I was at the UK’s Future Cities Catapult.

I just posted a different version of the foreword at But what was the question?, which dug a little deeper into the issues of urban data, digital twins, visualisation, and understanding cities, with reference to Finnish ghosts, The Wire’s Bunk Moreland, Timothy Morton, Mike Tyson, Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall, The Shining, Eastenders, SimCity and Cities:Skylines, Jay Wright Forrester, Qing Dynasty painting, and somehow more besides.

You can read it here:
Doppelgängers and digital twins, urban glimpses and drawing data

And do pick up a copy of Cities Squared, if you’re interested—which you ought to be. You can read more about the project from After the Flood, too.

I wrote about the London Squared Map at the time, and I also dug out an older piece, about hand-drawing urban data with students at the University of Sydney. It’s a nice lightweight technique, that one.

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

I also wrote a three-part series on cities and mobility, moving from the story of how the car captured cities like Stockholm, London, and Brisbane in the 20th century; to how the car is now being kicked out by cities such as Oslo, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Paris, and finally, how Tokyo, with its fast-metro-slow-neighbourhood model provides a clue for how to move in 21st century cities.

I’m doing some major projects around these topics of mobility and cities here in Sweden, and more of that soon, no doubt.

Cities of sound

That series, and some recent developments about the sound of electric and autonomous vehicles, made me dig out an old City of Sound post discussing what sound electric vehicles could make—it’s a thought I enjoy to take for a drive. I’ll be discussing some of that when I’m speaking at the Sound for New Urban Environments ICE Labs event in Mannheim, in May. I recently did a Music Tech Fest Podcast with Andrew Dubber, about music, sound and cities, which was huge fun: here’s Part One and Part Two.

Similarly, I posted up a 2014 interview I did with Matt George, who was then CEO of Bridj, a particularly interesting on-demand bus service. Bridj didn’t make it through the VC-fuelled mobility startup battles in the US, but is still live in Sydney, apparently. It’s worth reading the interview for the very different perspective George too, as compared to the likes of Uber and Lyft.

Finally, a really old piece, from 2007, on what Australian broadband might learn from Australian coffee! It’s a piece written in the full flush of my then recent arrival in Australia, as I was enjoying almost everything I was encountering—apart from the broadband.

That’s all for now. Hope you find something interesting in the smörgåsbord of links above. It’s almost 2am, the wind is picking up outside, and Narcos is on Netflix in the background. Time to sign off.

Best wishes,
Dan Hill, Stockholm

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