Urban Mind: Methods

Environmental and cultural dynamics of urbanism are constituted on adaptive and interdependent socio-ecological systems, which in turn are linked across temporal and spatial scales in complex non­linear ways. The modelling of nested socio-ecological systems necessitates a methodology with capacity of handling complexity and cross scale systems analysis. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is a computer aided system of methods for research on spatial data. Today, Remote sensing and GIS are essential for applied research on connections between the history and geography of human activities and processes of the bio-physical landscape.

For two decades the Archaeological GIS-laboratory in Uppsala University has conducted research on urban origins in Africa and landscape dynamics. The GIS-laboratory will have a central support role in the Urban Mind project. Researchers at the GIS-laboratory will develop interdisciplinary multi-scalar applications on urban centres and their surroundings. Available satellite imagery provide good opportunities for land system analysis of urban hinterland. Moreover, work on developing tools for archaeological analyses of urban centres will be undertaken. A space syntax approach delineates links between the architectural forms people once built for facilitating their activities with the social organisation of the society. The place syntax approach has been developed by the Spatial Analysis and Design research group at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. The place syntax approach has capacity of incorporating geographic accessibility analysis. Cooperative links have been established with researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.