Case Studies

CityZen Explorer


Project Director
Ed Parham

Project team
Ioanna Kolovou

Future Cities Catapult

A tool to improve the quality of life of older people living in urban areas.


Space Syntax has created the CityZen Explorer to visualise how liveable a city is for older residents of different health and income levels. The aims of the CityZen Explorer are to help decision-makers see the city through the eyes of others, to understand which parts of the city are more liveable, and to explain why this is.

The project is a collaboration between Brazilian and UK companies and has been part-funded by the UK (Newton Fund) and Brazilian governments.


The CityZen Explorer uses an Integrated Urban Model (IUM), created by Space Syntax, which combines data on movement networks (pedestrian routes, street networks and public transport), land use and density.

Background user research from the Connected Places Catapult defined the needs and requirements of twelve citizen personas, across a range of health and income levels.

Custom analysis of the IUM was developed to enable city decision makers to understand how well the city works for each persona group. This was done using indices which measure how the city provides (planned and unplanned) opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, access to health care facilities and public transport. It does this considering how much of the city can be accessed within the mobility and cost constraints of each persona.

The combined map interface and data visualisations enable city decision makers to access the insight of the IUM without the need for technical training. The CityZen Explorer can be used to identify existing higher risk areas, visualise how different areas of risk emerge as demographic and/or socio-economic characteristics change, and to see which specific facilities and services are missing.

The CityZen Explorer has been developed to demonstration level for two districts of São Paulo, and can be further customised or deployed elsewhere.

Further information

CityZen project website

Space Syntax Digital page
Details of our work in the development of digital modelling tools.