Whenever possible I recently try to get all my GIS work done in QGIS. Most of the time this is no problem at all. Sometimes it makes things even easier, such as when you’re trying to work with your geospatial data in a PostgreSQL/PostGIS database (good luck trying that in ArcGIS!). But sometimes you come across a task that is just so exotic that nobody has ever come across it. Or at least nobody wrote about coming across it…
In the introduction to the UN HABITAT report State of the World’s Cities 2012/2013: Prosperity of Cities it is written:
“As the world moves into the urban age, the dynamism and intense vitality of cities become even more prominent. A fresh future is taking shape, with urban areas around the world becoming not just the dominant form of habitat for humankind, but also the engine-rooms of human development as a whole. This ongoing evolution can be seen as yet another assertion, albeit on a larger scale, of the time-honoured role of cities as centres of prosperity. In the 21st as in much earlier centuries, people congregate in cities to realize aspirations and dreams, fulfil needs and turn ideas into realities.”
(United Nations 2012, v)
I could not agree more, and this is one of the reasons that I was captivated by cities from an early age, long before I started my academic career – or even had an idea of what an academic career is, for that matter. Cities interest me, cities fascinate me, and cities defined me. Having lived in Munich, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, and having visited many other amazing specimen worldwide has definitely had an impact on me and taught me many things. Studying cities is never boring and continues to surprise and astonish me on a regular basis.