LIVE Singapore!

This project was developed as part of my tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab where I led an interdisciplinary research team comprising computer scientists, architects, planners, and designers both in Boston and Singapore.

Cities are awash in data generated in real time in numerous ways but often not accessible to residents seeking to make decisions. The LIVE Singapore! project addresses this through the development of an urban real time data platform capable of collecting, processing, and visualizing a large and growing number of Singapore’s key urban data streams. This data originates from a large and growing variety of sources both public and private and as part of the project data sharing agreements were set up with organizations such as SingTel (cellphone network operator), Changi Airport Group, ComfortDelGro (the largest taxi company), National Environmental Agency, PSA (Port Operator), SP Services (Electricity Provider). To transform such data into meaningful information requires not only to handle input data in a host of different formats, the creation of a software architecture inclusive of messaging system and processing modules, but also the effective design of user interfaces and interaction modalities.

Based on the data platform, a number of different visualizations were developed that provide glimpses into areas of interest and of relevance to the City of Singapore, its residents, planners and policy makers, as well as designers and developers eager to further explore the potential use of urban real time data for novel application scenarios.



Singapore’s mobility is heavily reliant on taxis, but what happens when it rains? Getting hold of a cab is not the easiest thing in the world. We are exploring how our transportation system behaves by combining taxi and rainfall data, and investigating how in the future the system can streamline in order to better match taxi supply and demand.



As vehicular traffic opens up and jams in the course of the day, the time we need to move in Singapore shrinks and expands. How long will it take you to go from home to any other destination? Find out with this isochronic map, where the deformations are proportional to travel time – and reveals the changes in the course of a weekend/week day.



As heat is generated by energy usage, high energy consumption can translate into small local temperature rises of up to a few degrees (called man-made or anthropogenic heating). Combining data on the energy consumption of the city’s different zones with the wind speed, local temperature rise can be estimated. A potential addition of measured urban temperatures will provide the basis for a future city condition monitoring program.



Large scale events disrupt a cities’ daily routines. What better opportunity to explore this effect than Singapore’s Formula One Grand Prix? How does this event impact our daily life? How do we respond to it? How do we share our excitement via cellphone? Find out by looking at this map, where the color and size of the glow are proportional to the amount of text messaging during the Formula One race. The visualization shows on the left side a typical Sunday and on the right side the race Sunday.



Singapore’s mobile phone penetration is above 140%, many own more than one device. How do we make use of the island’s cellphone network via voice calls and text messages? How can this inform us about the usage of urban space in real-time? Find out by looking at this map, where height (logarithmic scale) and color intensity (linear scale) indicate the level of cellphone network usage.



Singapore is the world’s largest trans-shipment container port and one of the busiest airport hubs in the world. How is our island affected by this constant stream of people and goods passing through? Where do these flows come from and go to and how many of them are here to stay? Find out by looking at this map which shows the port and airport’s global reach.

You can find further information on the MIT project page.


Kristian Kloeckl, project leader
Carlo Ratti, lab director
Afian Anwar
Assaf Biderman
Rex Britter
Xiaoji Chen
Pedro Cruz
Jennifer Dunnam
David Lee
Till Nagel
Darshan Santani
Oliver Senn
Aaron Siegel
Christian Sommer
Vlad Trifa
Anthony Vanky
Dustin York