An update on Witan – the flexible city modelling platform
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Mastodon C is working together with the Greater London Authority to develop a flexible approach to city modelling. The aim is to take forecasting beyond the limitations of Excel, while providing modellers with the benefits of sophisticated data management tools, such as version control, security levels and scaling to very big or complex datasets.
We are now working on the first features of this platform together with the GLA demography team. Population projections are vital to London planning and provides a base for the London Plan, the Mayor’s strategic plan for London up until 2036. London population projections are also used by multiple departments within the GLA and underlie many other models, and including these models early on means that the Witan platform can be beneficial throughout the organisation.
Another feature we are implementing is an interface for London boroughs to input data and run population projection scenarios themselves, without having to rely on GLA modelling resources. The platform thus provides boroughs with a powerful tool to take charge of their own, local, modelling requirements.
Going forward, this interface can be used for other city modelling purposes and be expanded to other stakeholders beyond the London boroughs, providing the ability to run different models and access a host of datasets, both open and private, to play out city modelling scenarios.
We will be implementing these first features of Witan in the autumn and hope to provide updates on the platform build as we progress. The platform will be built using open source and interested parties will be able to access the platform code through our Github account.
By the end of the year, the demographic forecasting modules of the platform will be in public beta, and we’d love to start working with more interested users – please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if this sounds like it would be useful for you!
Fran Bennett is CEO & co-founder of Mastodon C.