Future Homes Alliance Urban Data Platform with Newcastle University Urban Observatory Data

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Future Homes Alliance Urban Data Platform with Newcastle University Urban Observatory Data

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Future Homes Urban Data Platform with Newcastle University Urban Observatory


Nebula Labs was proud to partner with the Future Homes Alliance to design and produce its new web site. The Alliance was initiated in 2015 by Professor Rose Gilroy of Newcastle University, who brought together representatives from public, private and third sectors to challenges current ideas around housing. By triangulating significant influences on the nature of society today “Demographic Change”, “Urban Sustainability” and “Digital Innovation” – the aim of the Future Homes project is to devise and provide “new housing for an ageing society”.
The central brief of this project was to produce a website that conveys the issues behind housing in this country today, and by exhibiting the work of the Alliance – demonstrate the potential solutions. Importantly, the site had to be attractive to as a wide an audience as possible. Another of the core aims of the project is to try and get as many businesses, community groups and individuals as possible involved in the work of the Alliance. The integration of social media feeds such as Twitter on the website is one such way that the website is designed to try and engage with such a mass audience. For those that are directly involved with the work of the Alliance a private chat forum has been designed to allow partnership members to talk directly and share ideas around the Future Homes Project.
One of the significant technical elements of the site, devised by Nebula Labs is the ‘Live Conditions’ page. Integrating data from Newcastle University Urban Observatory, it displays an array of live metrological measures from the Future Homes site. This includes: temperature, wind speed, humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure and even solar radiation levels. Each measure is contained within a simple, easy-to read graphic. Each one also displays a line graph which denotes the change in that metric on that day. The page was designed using a microservice architecture, following an API-first based approach. This interprets and caches the Urban Observatory data, which itself runs via a cloud-hosted microservice, written in Node.js for its high availability and concurrency. Such as infrastructure allows for the metrological data to be integrated within a performant user-friendly design on the Future Homes site.

Technologies Used

  • HTML/CSS (Bootstrap)/JavaScript (jQuery)
  • Express Framework
  • Node.js
  • Redis
  • Amazon Web Services