The Qualitative Image: Urban Analytics, Hybridity and Digital Representation

  • Linda MatthewsEmail author
Part of the S.M.A.R.T. Environments book series (SMARTE)


High-precision analytical software, such as that used for medical imaging, can be also applied productively to the assessment of urban conditions such as pedestrian and vehicular flow. A prominent feature of this tool is its ability to offer a new and more abstract understanding of the material nature of the city. Drawing upon a range of scaled-up software procedures to illustrate capability, the chapter reveals how an analytical medical software tool can be adapted for use in alternative interdisciplinary contexts such as urban design. Using imagery captured from public domain webcams, it demonstrates how the upscaling and transferal of this digital tool from its original disciplinary role provides a new way of assessing the appropriateness of a proposed built intervention. It also reveals that the extension of this tool’s fine-grain, image-based analysis capabilities into a broader, more complex urban scale allows the more ambiguous and often-disregarded properties of city life to form part of a comprehensive and wholistic data set. The chapter concludes with the proposal that the synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data facilitated by this analytical platform exceeds the capability of urban assessment tools currently used by the discipline.


Medical imaging Protocol Pixel Cross-disciplinary Qualitative Patterns Digital Colour Luminosity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture, Faculty of Design Architecture and BuildingUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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