Maarten Vanhoof

Maarten Vanhoof

m.vanhoof1@newcastle.ac.uk

I’m an academic wanderer. Which is probably why I ended up in this bunch of intellectuals, designers, coders, professors, hipsters, misfits and hopeless romantics that Open Lab is.

My roots, however, go back to the sandy soils of northern Belgium, where I’ve grown up as the oldest son in a family of four before heaping up master’s degrees in Geography and Cultural Studies in Belgium’s tiny, academic capital, Leuven.

Currently, I’m exploring the brave new world of Big Data (that’s Big Brother x2 already). My research focuses on the use of mobile phone data to understand human mobility and social interaction at a very, very, very large scale (think millions of people, billions of movements, trillions of calls). Although the big data toolset is merely quantitative, I’m really interested in how human behaviour dialects with structural elements of our society. How is inequality reproduced by the way we move? How exclusive are social networks?

At the end of the day, my work is in exploring methodologies and data to find new insights on these questions but my goal is to use them to confront some of the fat-ass problems we face in society. Guess not all those who wander are lost, right? High time to go and (re-)read the books!