About Michael Batty

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

Non-Equilibrium Social Science and Policy

NESS

This great book edited by Jeffrey Johnson, Paul Ormerod, Bridget Rosewell, Andrzej Nowak, and Yi-Cheng Zhang brings together many contributions from an EU project which lead to several workshops and conferences about a new form of social science – out of equilibrium, far from equilibrium, in disequilibrium as the world always is. The book is open access and you can download it here.

Here is an explanation of what is contained within. Between 2011 and 2014 the European Non-Equilibrium Social Science Project (NESS) investigated the place of equilibrium in the social sciences and policy. Orthodox economics is based on an equilibrium view of how the economy functions and does not offer a complete description of how the world operates. However, mainstream economics is not an empty box. Its fundamental insight, that people respond to incentives, may be the only universal law of behaviour in the social sciences. Only economics has used equilibrium as a primary driver of system behaviour, but economics has become much more empirical at the microlevel over the past two decades. This is due to two factors: advances in statistical theory enabling better estimates of policy consequences at the microlevel, and the rise of behavioural economics which looks at how people, firms and governments really do behave in practice. In this context, this chapter briefly reviews the contributions of this book across the social sciences and ends with a discussion of the research themes that act as a roadmap for further research. These include: realistic models of agent behaviour; multilevel systems; policy informatics; narratives and decision making under uncertainty; and validation of agent-based complex systems models.

Here is my own chapter for your interest which is entitled Cities in Disequilibrium

 

City Analytics

OpenSci

City Analytics: An invited special collection of articles for Royal Society Open Science entitled ‘City Analytics’ compiled and edited by Desmond J. Higham, Michael Batty, Luís M. A. Bettencourt, Danica Vukadinovic Greetham and Peter Grindrod. Click here or on the image above for the papers.

The growing human urban population presents unique opportunities and challenges for a range of stakeholders. As is presented in this special collection, using a range of mathematical, computational and statistical tools, it is possible to extract and analyse data on urban environments from myriad sources of information.

In the City Analytics special collection, interdisciplinary work exploring, for instance, social media usage patterns, transport networks and urban resilience to natural disasters, such as flooding, provide researchers and policymakers with detailed insights. Click here for the editorial and the papers and for the contents which are open access.

Encounters in Planning Thought

Encounters

Click on the picture or on this link to by the book online. The project has a web site – click here for the web site and the wider context from which this extract is taken. And take a look inside the book here.

The  Encounters in Planning Thought  book-project was born out of the need to capture the planning thoughts and reflections from 16 leading thinkers of the original generation of planning professors, who led the formation of the academic field of city and regional planning. The aim of this project is to understand and unpack the roots of the planning discipline. In difference to existing ‘planning history projects’ we seek to explore the roots of planning through the eyes of selected individuals who influenced and shaped the field of planning over the last five decades. Understanding the history of the field of planning through oral histories enables us to grasp also the impacts of historical events, demographic change, political systems, etc. of an ever changing world, on the history of the field. This approach makes it possible to understand how planning thoughts can be adopted meaningfully in a different time, context and situation.

The project was born out of the need to capture the wisdom of the first generation of planners. The finite amount of time that the current and next generation of planners have to accumulate this information underlines the ‘now or never’ aspect of this project. When this highly influential generation is gone, their knowledge will be lost. This makes this project an extremely time sensitive endeavour.

We argue that it is important to understand the evolution of planning thought in the context of personal values and experiences as well as in relation to an ever changing world, from those individuals who have first-hand knowledge of this intellectual evolution. Through their historical accounts of the emergence and development of the field of planning, we can not only reflect on the past to resolve our current issues but we can reflect on the past to further the field of planning in the future.