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Colouring London

All Contributors Build status

How many buildings are there in a city? What are their characteristics? Where are they located and how do they contribute to the city? How adaptable are they? How long will they last, and what are the environmental and socio-economic implications of demolition?

Colouring Cities is a web-based citizen social science project designed to help address these questions by crowdsourcing and visualising twelve categories of information on the buildings in our cities.


This repository will contain open-source code for the project which:

  • stores building footprint polygons and source metadata
  • allows site users to record building attribute data
  • serves map tiles rendered from collected data
  • allows site visitors to download the collected building attribute data

Building attribute data collected as part of the project will be made available for download under a liberal open data license (ODbL).

Setup and run

Forking the Core Repository

If you are working with us as part of this GitHub organisation, then a repository and team may already have been set up for you. If you are already usign the repository and want to add a new project, perhaps because you are expanding to additional cities, then please following these instructions to create a Fork of the core repository: docs/working-with-colouring-core.

Customise the Application:

You can customise the Colouring Cities application by changing the values in the following file:


For more information on the config system, see docs/configuring-colouring-cities.

Test the application:

You can try out the Colouring Cities application by setting up your own development environment, which includes the option to load test data from OpenStreetMaps (OSM). See docs/setup-dev-environment.

Last updated March 2022

Create a production version of the application:

We also have documentation on setting up a production environment here: docs/setup-production-environment.

Last updated December 2021

Note: There are additional useful documentation within the /docs folder.


If you are having problems with the application, first look here: docs/troubleshooting to see if there is a solution for your problem. (Also, please consider updating this document if you encounter and problems and manage to solve them!)


Colouring London was set up at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London and is now based at The Alan Turing Institute. Ordnance Survey is providing building footprints required to collect the data, facilitated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), and giving access to its API and technical support.


Colouring London/Colouring Cities
Copyright (C) 2018-2022 Tom Russell and Colouring Cities contributors

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.


Thanks goes to these wonderful people (emoji key):


🎨 🤔 🖋 🔍

Tom Russell

🎨 🤔 💻 📖


💻 🤔


🤔 🖋

Adam Dennett


Duncan Smith






Tarn Hamilton


Louis Jobst


Ed Chalstrey

💻 📖

Mateusz Konieczny

💻 📖

Mike Simpson

💻 📖

This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!

Even more thanks go to Colouring Cities contributors, funders, project partners, consultees, advisers, supporters and friends - everyone involved in the project.