What kinds of buildings make up London? What are their size and shape? How are they made and what of?  Who built them and which are the most energy efficient? Where can you find different types? And which do you like, and think contributes to the success and well-being of the city. 

We are collecting twelve types of data  to answer these and many other questions about London. To do this we are testing four approaches: existing bulk dataset collation; computational generation; crowdsourcing and livestreaming.


Click on any box to find out more about our different data categories.


Street context


Owing to the complexity of the stock as a system, we have tried to group our datasets in as logical a way as possible. The simple 12-category-grid above also doubles as our logo, and as Colouring London's control panel, allowing you to easily navigate across our mapping pages.


The grid contain over 50 subcategories of data. New subcategories can be added at any point. The grid is divided into two sections. In the first section, Location data comes first, as the aim is to provide geospatial data which can then be mapped. Use, Type, AgeSize and Construction, and Street Context come next. These contain information on the form of the building, from which 3D rule-based models can (when combined with footprints), also be built. Street Context, in addition, contains subcategories relating to greenery, geology and utilities as well as links to street, plot and block data. 


In the second section, the last five categories in the grid all have multiple functions. Team captures data on developers, designers and builders. For most buildings this requires expert input from professional and amateur historians, as over 85% of London's stock was built before 2000. For annual new builds (which represent under 1% of the stock) we encourage construction firms and professional bodies to add and update data. Awards and quality marks are also included here, to celebrate construction firms' commitment to sustainability, and industry skills and expertise. The section is also designed to drive up new build quality by enabling the longevity, energy performance and likeability of buildings to be more easily tracked over time.   


Planning captures data on whether a building has special protection, and also includes a link to the UK planning portal, where recent historical planning application information is kept. Here the idea (proposed for 2022) is to test a live stream traffic light system which allows planning applications to be mapped live and for the colour of a building to change based on its planning status (i.e. whether a planning application has been submitted, approved or appealed (including appeal number). Information will also be collected/generated onther  whether the approved building has actually been built.  

Sustainability captures data on energy performance. It also is designed to stimulate discussion on new types of rating to maximise support sustainable development and understand their capacity for lifespan extension. These include the repairability of buildings and their adaptability.

Dynamics captures data on the evolution of the city, on incremental development within plots over long periods of time, and on building lifespans. We are  testing a range of data capture methods, from the crowdsourcing of statistical data on historical constructions and demolitions on sites, to the use of machine leaning to extract big data from historical maps. Dynamics data are needed to track rates of change,  typology survival rates and vulnerability to demolition and system failure. The aim is also to provide a canvas on which historians can co-work to add data, and weblinks to information on the history of buildings and local areas. Data collected can to be used to inform forecasting models and dynamic simulations, and to measure and analyse rates of change, typology survival rates, and the  metabolism of cities in terms of energy and waste flows.

Categories are not set in stone. Where there is general consensus that a category or subcategory should be adjusted or added, relevant changes can be made. You can add your suggestions to our discussion threads here.

The plan in 2022 is to also provide open georeferenced raster maps relating to the physical landscape including those illustrating historical development, greenspaces and waterways, geology and flood risk.  We will also be working on integrating open 3D models and interactive data analytics features.


We are gradually releasing subcategories for testing. If you'd like to help us by adding data, just go to Edit Maps, click on a building, choose any category of interest and fill in any information you can. Every entry and/or verification helps. Some categories are easier to fill than others. Like me? is our easiest. Here all you have to do is tell us if you think the building contributes to the city.

Examples of subcategories within our 12 main categories are shown below. We're trying to keep collection as efficient and simple as possible.


  • Building Name & Number

  • Streetname

  • Postcode

  • OS Open ID (UPRN, TOID)

  • OpenStreetMap ID 

Current Use

  • Land use

  • Multiple uses

  • Number of self contained units.  


  • Original use

  • 3D form (generic)

  • Architectural type

  • Morphological type

  • Dynamic tissue type

  • Open3D  procedural typology link


  • What year was building begun?

  • Front the same date as core?

  • Web links to historical information


  • Height  & number of storeys

  • Frontage width

  • Footprint  area

  • Floor area

  • Plot to footprint ratio


  • Construction method

  • Materials

  • Percentage glazed

  • Bim reference

Street context

  • Green context (gardens)

  • Green context (street) 

  • Block type

  • Plot size 

  • Geology

  • Services

Team & awards 

  • Where applicable : Client, Developer, Designer
    or design source, Engineer & Surveyor, Builder/s.

  • Awards & Quality marks 


  • Planning portal link

  • Is it protected? Listed building/conservation area?

  • What is its planning status?


  • Energy performance rating

  • BREEAM rating

  • Last major retrofit

  • Lifespan estimate 

  • Repairability rating for system type


  • Lifespan data - Constructions and demolition date pairs for history of site

  • Links to historical information sites


  • Do you like the building and think it contributes to the city?

  • Would you describe it as being of community value

  • Is it a publicly owned asset?