Keynote Speaker

AWilson.pngSir Alan Wilson


Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

University College London

Sir Alan Wilson is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London and is Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.Best known for his pioneering work on spatial interaction methods and dynamical systems theory in transportation and urban modelling, he has joined the UCL CASA in 2007. Sir Alan originally trained as a mathematician but converted in the 1960s from theoretical physics to the social sciences through research on the mathematical modelling of cities. He had research posts in Oxford and London before being appointed as Professor of Urban & Regional Geography at the University of Leeds in 1970.

He served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1991&ndash2004. From 2004&ndash2006, he was Director-General for Higher Education in the Department for Education & Skills. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Title of the conference: &ldquoUrban Modelling: The science and its contributions to planning&rdquo

Abstract :

The talk begins with two questions: what are we modelling? And why are we modelling? The history is briefly reviewed and the state of the science of urban modelling is illustrated first with reference to the retail flow model. This embraces the standard use of this model in planning and then presents a dynamic version, modelling structural evolution. This illustrates a major challenge: modelling cities as nonlinear systems in relation to path dependence, possible phase changes and the implications of this understanding for longer-term planning. The paper concludes with a review of the common and potential uses of models in urban management and planning, short term and long term, within a policy-design-analysis framework.