Manifold Cities: Social variables of urban areas in the UK

Edmund Barter, Thilo Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
207 Downloads (Pure)


In the twenty-first century, ongoing rapid urbanization highlights the need to gain deeper insights into the social structure of cities. While work on this challenge can profit from abundant data sources, the complexity of this data itself proves to be a challenge. In this paper, we use diffusion maps, a manifold learning method, to discover hidden manifolds in the UK 2011 census dataset. The census key statistics and quick statistics report 1450 different statistical features for each census output area. Here, we focus primarily on the city of Bristol and the surrounding countryside, comprising 3490 of these output areas. Our analysis finds the main variables that span the census responses, highlighting that university student density and poverty are the most important explanatory variables of variation in census responses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20180615
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2221
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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