Meet Kofoworola Modupe Osunkoya, a visiting PhD Researcher from Tallinn University of Technology

We are excited to introduce Kofoworola Modupe Osunkoya, a visiting PhD Researcher from the Urban Spatial Analytics research group at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech). Modupe is visiting us at the Digital Geography Lab from November 2023 to June 2024 to study urban vitality through social media activity. Check out our mini-interview with Modupe to learn more about her research and interests.

Kofoworola Modupe OsunkoyaWho are you, and what is your role at your home university?

I am Kofoworola Modupe Osunkoya, a PhD Researcher in the Future Smart City project, Urban Spatial Analytics research group at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. I am also an Urban Spatial Analyst with vast experience in planning, designing, and executing sustainable urban mobility.

I obtained two (2) Master’s degrees: Urbanism and Strategic Planning from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, and Transportation Science from Hasselt University, Belgium. My current focus within the Future Smart City project revolves around exploring ‘smart’ urbanity, new mobility concepts, and the development of sustainable urban futures.

Specifically, my role in the project entails investigating “New Urban Design and Analysis Methods for Transforming Mobility and Urban Morphology.” My research interests lie at the intersection of New Urbanism, Transport Planning, and Urban Planning, where I am passionate about advancing innovative approaches to address contemporary urban challenges.

Please introduce your research topic.

My PhD thesis “Re-discovering Urban Vitality Measurement for Cities in Digital Transition” studies urban vitality in digitalizing cities, its tradition, current and potential measuring methods, and how (big) data can be applied to better recognize vital areas and support their emergence via urban planning and governance. I have combined multi-sourced data, such as mobile phone and traditional data (socio-economic, mixed-uses, population), to analyze the vital urban places and changes over time and space in Tallinn, Estonia.

Why did you decide to visit the Digital Geography Lab? What are you planning to work on during that time?

The DGL innovative research theme socio-spatial interactions between people resonates strongly with my current research endeavors. I am actively exploring alternative big data sources, such as Twitter data (X), to investigate significant vital urban locations in Tallinn, Estonia, which aligns seamlessly with the team’s research scope objectives. I am enthusiastic to expand my knowledge and skills in these research areas and gain valuable expertise.

Over the eight months, I am excited to collaborate closely with Dr Olle Järv and Dr Tuomas Väisänen on a project that maps vital urban areas through social media activity, with a specific case study in Tallinn, Estonia. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to delve deeper into understanding the dynamics of urban spaces and the interactions between people within them.

What would you like to discover during your stay in Finland?

While Tallinn and Helsinki share similarities in their urban landscapes and characteristics, I am particularly interested in exploring the unique culinary offerings of Helsinki. Each locality boasts its distinct flavors and gastronomic experiences, and I look forward to immersing myself in the local food culture of Helsinki.

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.