Urban Analytics

NATSEM has been developing a new area of urban analytics and modelling, using their innovative spatial microsimulation model, with initial work from 2010 with the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN). Professor Tanton was involved in the technical advisory group for AURIN, and NATSEM staff were involved in two of the original lenses (economic disadvantage and housing), with NATSEM associate Professor Barbara Norman involved in a third lens (environment). NATSEM has complete 5 projects already for AURIN, being:

  • Small area estimates of Indigenous disadvantage (with Dr Nic Biddle);
  • Small area estimates of subjective wellbeing (with Prof Bob Cummins);
  • Small area estimates of OECD wellbeing indicators (with University Adelaide);
  • Housemod – an online model of housing; and
  • A test case analysing ABS Census data online through the AURIN portal.

NATSEM has contributed a significant amount of data modelled through it’s spatial microsimulation model to the AURIN portal.

NATSEM also hosted Professor Mike Batty from the Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College, London to their Modelling and Simulation workshop in 2015. Mike gave a number of presentations, which were recorded and will soon be available.

CASA is a world leader in urban modelling, and staff at CASA work on using large datasets to analyse urban form. In light of this experience, NATSEM’s Professor Tanton is on sabbatical at CASA in late 2016, learning about the latest developments in urban analytics. This is an important relationship which will place NATSEM at the forefront of urban modelling in Australia, along with collaborators from the University of Wollongong (the SMART Infrastructure Unit), the University of Sydney (the Cities unit), Canberra Urban and Regional Futures, and the Planning faculty at UC. Professor Tanton is also visiting the Consumer Data Research Centre at the University of Leeds, to learn the latest about using consumer data for urban analytics. Professor Tanton will be updating his blog while overseas, at www.robtanton.com

This will extend NATSEM’s experience in modelling considerably, to include not only microsimulation models, but agent based models, spatial Input-Output and CGE models. NATSEM will be working closely with a number of Australian and International partners over the next few years to extend the Australian capacity in this field, and prepare Australian cities for a liveable and sustainable future.  

Project Sites:

Urban Analytics Data Infrastructure (UADI) project


Pettit, C. J., Tanton, R., & Hunter, J. (2016). An online platform for conducting spatial-statistical analyses of national census data across Australia. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2016.05.008

Vidyattama Y, Tanton R and Biddle N (2015) “Estimating small-area Indigenous cultural participation from synthetic survey data” Environment and Planning A volume 47, pages 1211 – 1228 doi: 10.1177/0308518X15592314

Vidyattama, Tanton, and Nepal (2013), “The Effect of Transport Costs on Housing-related Financial Stress in Australia”, Urban Studies, V 50(9), pp. 1 - 17 doi: 10.1177/0042098012468342

Vidyattama, Y., Tanton, R., and Biddle, N. (2013) Small Area Social Indicators for the Indigenous Population in Australia: Methodology for Creating Small Area Estimates of Indigenous Disadvantage, Proceedings from the 23rd Pacific Conference of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) and the 4th Indonesian Regional Science Association (IRSA) Institute. 2-4 July, Bandung, Indonesia, ISSN: 2088-7410

Mohanty, Tanton, Vidyattama, Keegan and Cummins, “Small Area Estimates of Subjective Wellbeing: Spatial Microsimulation on the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey”, NATSEM Working Paper 13/23