The CityLab is underpinned by a data collection and management initiative called the Urban Observatory. Working with a range of public sector bodies (e.g. the City and Province, but also SAEON, SABI, and the CSIR) who use large-scale data sets to inform evidence based policymaking. Drawing information on land, water, housing, air pollution, grants, etc. we are designing an interactive platform that will enable cross-sectoral analysis of trends in human settlement. Although the geographical focus of this project is greater Cape Town there is significant interest in making this work compatible with other major cities and an emergent national observation project.