About Michael Batty

I chair CASA at UCL which I set up in 1995. I am Bartlett Professor In UCL.

The Next Two Lectures (5, 6) Online


The next two lectures of this course (lectures 5 and 6 which are 1 and 2 in session 3) are online accessible by clicking here. For those on CASA’s MSc in Smart Cities course, these are background material and without my ‘voice over’ or ‘presence’, you may find them a little unstructured. But they do introduce some issues about the evolution of smart cities, the history of commuting and the focus on urban analytics for routine management, control and simulation of things like transit in cities. Send me any email if you want more information and I will post two more lectures this coming weekend. There will be 10 in all and 6 have been posted


The First Publicly Displayed Computer Graphic?


In digging up material for my smart cities lectures, I have always given a short history of computer graphics by way of background to visualization of cities. In fact the first computer graphic appears to be Jay Forrester’s demonstration of the a rocket trajectory on an oscilloscope connected to the Whirlwind computer which he demoed on Ed Murrow’s show See it Now in 1951. Until now I could not find the original piece on the web. Ed Murrow has a great clip about early TV and zoom cameras when his show began but only now have MIT released the clip of Jay Forrester from their archive. Or rather Google found the clip for me as it might have been there for a while.

Of course for aficionados of cities such as myself and this blog, Jay Forrester is far better known for one of the first explicitly dynamics models of urban growth published in his Urban Dynamics book in 1969 by MIT Press. Me and my colleague Eric Cripps almost got to meet him at MIT in 1970 but a late plane from Philadelphia to Boston conspired to defeat us in that quest. Nevertheless the MIT video or should I say CBS clip is very good watching for it demonstrates that right at the beginning, computers were being used for graphics (as well as music and so on) in Turing, von Neumann, Vannevar Bush’s conceptions of them as universal machines. And it really took another 30 years or more for them to become widely known as graphics machines. All the links are embedded in this entry in bold type that you can click on.

A Quick Course in Smart Cities


Five lecture sessions starting tonight at 6-00pm at Arizona State University to a graduate class of geographers and planners on Smart Cities. Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week and Wednesday and Friday the following week. Two lectures per session for about 1 hour 40 minutes in total. Graduate students on CASA’s MSc on Smart Cities and Urban Analytics might like to see these lectures and I will post them after I have given them and let you know. But parallel to this and essential background to the first lecture session are Hannah Fry’s BBC Radio 4 programmes on Computing Britain. You can download these as podcasts or stream them by clicking here. The course text is Anthony Townsend’s book Smart Cities – actually essential background as well, a review of which you can read by clicking here, and my own paper with the future ICT crowd on Smart Cities of the Future that you can download here too.