Dr Emmanouil Tranos PhD

Dr Emmanouil Tranos

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Human Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Apoorva Bhatt - Research in 60 seconds videoDr Emmanouil Tranos is an economic geographer and his research focuses on the spatiality of the digital economy. He has published on the geography of the internet infrastructure, the economic impacts that this digital infrastructure can generate on cities and regions and the position of cities within spatial, complex networks. His research in this area led to a monograph on The Geography of the Internet: cities, regions and Internet infrastructure.

Dr Tranos' work also focuses on a side-product of the digital economy, all of these new sources of big, unstructured and, sometimes, unconventional data which can help us better understand cities and urban systems.


PhD Newcastle University, 2010
MA in Regional Development, Newcastle University, 2006
MSc in Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, 2004


Dr Emmanouil Tranos obtained his first degree in Planning and Regional Development from the University of Thessaly in Greece (MSci). After working as a consultant for a year, he moved to Newcastle, UK where he completed an MA in Regional Development and a PhD on the Geography of the Internet Infrastructure at the Centre of Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS).

After working for one year as a postdoc at the School of Engineering in Newcastle, he moved to The Netherlands, where he worked as a researcher for the Department of Spatial Economics at VU Amsterdam. He is now a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham.


URS201: The Urban and Regional Economy

GGM105: First Year tutorials

GGM354: Network Geographies

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Emmanouil Tranos welcomes PhD students in areas related with:

  • Digital geographies
  • Cities, regions and spatial networks
  • Urban and regional analysis using big data


How much do we know about the online behaviour of individuals in the UK? What are the intensity and the types of online activities that people in the UK undertake including online shopping and what are the underpinning mechanisms which shape this behaviour? And, importantly, does geography play a role in how people utilise the internet? In other words, is the internet a mechanism which can partially alleviate peripherality, is it a place-neutral process or are elements of the internet usage more intensively linked with central, urban locations? These are the key research questions that our new research project, which is funded by the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) and ESRC through the CDRC Innovation Fund, is going to answer using a variety of data sources and methods.

Answering questions like the ones above can support the UK economy’s ‘digital’ objectives. Specifically, by gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms which underpin the online behaviour and attitude of individuals we can improve our understanding of how individuals engage with the digital economy in the UK. This is essential for the UK digital sectors in order to remain world-leading (HM Government, 2017) and for UK firms to fully develop their digital potential, something which can add 2.5% of GDP to the economy (Oxford Economics, 2015). The questions that this research project raises are well-aligned with one of the key ESRC priorities, which aims to better comprehend the Ways of Being in a Digital Age, as well as with CDRC’s priority around Big Data and Retail.

This project will utilise the representative nature of the British Population Survey (BPS – see also CDRC’s page) to explain the determinants of individual internet usage and online shopping patterns. Using the (anonymised) responder characteristics included in the BPS we will expose the individual mechanisms which shape our online behaviour. In addition, using the broad locational information included in the BPS we will link these data with secondary data from ONS in order to understand the contextual and neighbourhood characteristics which might also affect the way individuals engage with online activities. Finally, we will link the BPS data with a novel source of big data from the UK Web Archive, which is curated by The British Library, in order to build longitudinal measures about the availability and richness of the local internet content at the level of the BPS responders. By doing this we will be able to test whether the availability of rich online content of local interest can affect individual online behaviour. The literature suggests that internet content of local interest has, among other socio-economic factors, the capacity to stimulate internet adoption, at least at a country scale (Viard & Economides, 2014). Bekkerman and Gilpin (2013) argue that internet access actually increases the value of local content and that larger markets have more local online content. Nevertheless, the literature has not yet tested whether the availability of local internet content can influence individuals to engage more with the internet and this is a research question that this project aims to answer.

In order to reveal the individual and contextual – including both neighbourhood characteristics and local online content – determinants of internet usage and online shopping in the UK, we will employ multilevel modelling. Such statistical models control for the clustering of individual observations within the same contextual (i.e. geographic) unit. Such an approach reflects economic reality as individuals are hardly ever isolated from their direct environment, but they are nested within complex economic and institutional contexts (Hundt & Sternberg, 2016).

Specifically, this project will achieve the following research objectives:

  • Explain the individual characteristics, which influence internet usage and online activities and how these change over time.
  • Reveal the contextual effects which stimulate internet usage and online activities of individuals. Such features might be socio-economic (e.g. deprivation) and location-related (e.g. urban/rural, broadband availability/speed) neighbourhood effects, but also digital neighbourhood effects, which refer to the availability of local internet content.
  • Identify the individual and contextual effects, including the digital neighbourhood effects and accessibility to retail centres, which can affect online shopping.

The project will contribute to the digital geographies literature by (i) revealing the individual and contextual mechanisms which influence the engagement with the digital economy; and (ii) understanding the role of local internet content in affecting online behaviour, something which has not been studied before. This will also be the first time, to our knowledge, that unstructured big data from the Internet Archive will be utilised in such geographical research. Revealing location-related effects will also be particularly compelling for economic geography as they will expose if and how participation in the digital economy is shaped by spatial structure. This project will also speak to retail literature by exposing the individual and contextual mechanisms – including the availability of local internet content – which influences online shopping patterns.

The project team includes Dr Emmanouil Tranos (PI), Dr Zhaoya Gong (Co-I), Mr Christoph Stich (PDRA) and Dr Max Nathan (Advisor).



Tranos, E. (2013). The Geography of the Internet: Cities, Regions and Internet Infrastructure in Europe. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar (New Horizons in Regional Science Series). 


Publications in refereed journals

Arribas-Bel, D. & Tranos, E. (2017) Characterizing the Spatial Structure(s) of Cities “on the fly”: the Space-Time LISA Calendar. Geographical Analysis. In press.

Budnitz, H., Chapman, L. & Tranos, E. (2017) Better by Bus?: Insights into public transport travel behaviour during Storm Doris in Reading, UK. Weather. In press.

Steenbruggen, J., Tranos, E. & Rietveld, P. (2016) Can motorway traffic incidents be detected by mobile phone usage data? An empirical application in the Netherlands. Journal of Transport Geography, 54, 81-90.

Tranos, E., & Mack, E. (2016). Broadband provision and knowledge intensive firms: a causal relationship? Regional Studies, 50, 1113-1126.

Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2015). Mobile Phone Usage in Complex Urban Systems: a space-time, aggregated human activity study. Journal of Geographical Systems, 17, 157-185.

Tranos, E., Gheasi, M., & Nijkamp, P. (2015). International migration: a global complex network. Environment & Planning B, 42, 4-22.

Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2015). Editorial: Special issue on mobile phone data and geographic modelling. Telecommunication Policy, 39, 333-334.

Steenbruggen, J., Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2015). Data from mobile phone operators: a tool for smarter cities? Telecommunications Policy, 39, 335-346.

Jacobs-Crisioni, C., Rietveld, P., Koomen, E., & Tranos, E. (2014). Evaluating the impact of land-use density and mix on spatiotemporal urban activity patterns: an exploratory study using mobile phone data. Environment and Planning A, 46, 2769-2785.

Tranos, E., Kourtit, K., & Nijkamp, P. (2014). Digital urban network connectivity: Global and Chinese internet patterns. Papers in Regional Science, 93, 409-428.

Tranos, E., & Davoudi, S. (2014). The regional impact of climate change on winter tourism in Europe. Tourism Planning & Development, 11, 163-178.

Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2013). The death of distance revisited: cyber-place, physical and relational proximities. Journal of Regional Science, 53, 855-873.

Tranos, E., Reggiani, A., & Nijkamp, P. (2013). Accessibility of cities in the digital economy. Cities, 30, 59-67.

Tranos, E., & Gertner, D. (2012). Smart Networked Cities? Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 25, 175-190.

Tranos, E. (2012). The causal effect of the Internet infrastructure on the economic development of the European city-regions. Spatial Economic Analysis, 7, 319-337.

Tranos, E. (2011). The topology and the emerging urban geographies of the Internet backbone and aviation networks in Europe: a comparative study Environment and Planning A, 43, 378-392.

Tranos, E., & Gillespie, A. (2011). The urban geography of Internet backbone networks in Europe: roles and relations. Journal of Urban Technology, 18, 35– 49.

Tranos, E., & Gillespie, A. (2009). The spatial distribution of Internet backbone networks in Europe: a metropolitan knowledge economy perspective. European Urban and Regional Studies, 16, 423-437.

Petrakos, G., & Tranos, E. (2008). Egnatia Odos and regional development. A theoretical and experimental study. Review of Economic Science, 14, (in Greek).


Publications in edited volumes and other publications

Tranos, E. (2016). The Internet and its geography, growth and (digital) social capital. In R. Shearmur, D. Doloreux & C. Carrincazeaux (Eds.), Handbook on the Geography of Innovation. In press.

Tranos, E. (2015). Book review: An introduction to R for spatial analysis and mapping by C. Brunsdon & L. Comber. Environment and Planning B, 43, 435-436.

Tranos, E. (2014). Networks in the innovation process. In M. M. Fischer & P. Nijkamp (Eds.), Handbook of Regional Science (pp. 489-504). Berlin - Heidelberg: Springer.

Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2014). Digital infrastructure and physical proximity. In A. Torre & F. Wallet (Eds.), Regional development and proximity relations (pp. 267-290). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Tranos, E., & Nijkamp, P. (2014). Urban and regional analysis and the digital revolution: challenges and opportunities. In B. Derruder, S. Conventz, A. Thierstein & F. Witlox (Eds.), Hub cities in the knowledge economy (pp. 145-162): Ashgate.

Tranos, E. (2013). Book review: Complexity, Cognition and the City by J. Portugali. Environment and Planning B, 40, 183-184.

Lückenkötter, J., Langeland, O., Langset, B., Tranos, E., Davoudi, S., & Lindner, C. (2013). Economic effects of climate change on Europe's regions. In P. Schmidt-Thomé & S. Greiving (Eds.), European climate vulnerabilities and adaptation: A spatial planning perspective (pp. 95-112). West Sussex: Wiley&Blackwell.

Tranos, E. (2011). e-Regional Science: why should regional science focus on the digital revolution? Regional Insights, 2, 5.