About Michael Batty

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

Big Data + Travel in the Future


Found myself speaking at a massive extravaganza the 2014 Internet Festival in Pisa this coming Saturday 11th October amongst a fascinating line up. In a session with Laszlo Barabasi, Carlo Mol and Davy Jansenns, about how the physical meets the virtual when it comes to how we interact. Don’t know what I will say as yet but I’d better not give the same old stuff about complexity and cities so i need to liven it up with …. well I’ll post it when its done. Click here however  for the complete program

Following the “digital crumbs” each and every one of us leaves behind when we use digital devices, science can now measure our desires, life styles, social relationships and movements in society. This new social microscope provides us with the data to help us understand how the complex organism that is human society operates. This workshop will discuss the challenges and opportunities we will face in the near future, starting with the results of a CNR and University of Pisa European research project that predicts the arrival of the electric car and its impact. With international experts we will debate the challenges facing future means of transport. To conclude the event, we will present the results from the TagMyDay project.



A Chinese Commentary on Smart Cities


The Beijing City Lab now contains nearly 50 papers on how the technologies that form a science of cities are being applied in China. There is an interesting paper by Wang Jingyuan on smart cities that is worth looking at. It is in Chinese and in preparation for the first lectures on our own Masters Course in Smart Cities that has several Chinese students, you can get the paper by clicking on the links here. There is also an interview with myself and one with the late Professor Sir Peter Hall. All good stuff and a valuable resources

About the Lab: taken from their web site: “The Beijing City Lab (BCL) is a virtual research community, dedicated to studying, but not limited to, China’s capital Beijing. The Lab focuses on employing interdisciplinary methods to quantify urban dynamics, generating new insights for urban planning and governance, and ultimately producing the science of cities required for sustainable urban development. The lab’s current mix of planners, architects, geographers, economists, and policy analysts lends unique research strength.”

The City Scientific


Matt Zook drew my attention to this paper in an article he and his colleagues recently wrote called The ‘actually existing smart city’. In it, they point to the fact that a science of cities is not new – that it goes back at least to the turn of the last century and they cite George Ford’s article “The City Scientific” as an early statement of this focus. In fact as readers of this blogsprobably know, a science of cities is not the same as a science of smart cities, for the latter is much more concerned with the routine and the here and now and has much less of the theory and simulation that we have been developing for the last 50 years in transportation, regional science, spatial interaction and so on. However Ford’s article is in fact more geared to the smart city than the science of cities. John Reps scanned it and posted it online a few years ago and you can grab it here from my blog or go to Cornell where it is located too. It is short and to the point and really is all about municipal engineering but it does relate back to Cerda and Geddes and if you look at my blog www.complexcity.info then you will find that I draw inspiration from these 19th century innovators and theorists in developing this science. In fact Ford’s article was quoted in a commentary by Richard Le Gates, Nick Tate and Richard Kingston in Environment and Planning B, the journal I edit and although I approved this when it came out, I cannot remember it. But readers are also referred to this commentary and all the other editorials in B that pertain to ideas about this science and the smart city.