Category Archives: Urban Models

Applied Urban Modelling 2018

This conference is the seventh in a by-now very well established meeting held each June in Cambridge UK, which brings together those working on land use transport interaction/integration models (LUTI models) in the narrower sense and more generally on urban simulation models. Although initially set up to continue work on aggregate land use and transportation models, it has broadened to include other kinds of models and this year there are interesting papers on very large scale models such as UrbanSim, PECAS and TRANUS as well as cellular automata models like SLEUTH. The programme is here and those wanting the papers should contact the authors. During the meeting we have had a session dealing with the contributions of Lionel March to urban modelling. I tweeted about this a couple of weeks ago but here is my contribution – the PDF of my talk about my work with Lionel some 44 years ago when we were both at the University of Waterloo in Engineering. Lionel of course set up the Centre for Land Use and Built Form Studies that morphed into the Martin Centre (at the University of Cambridge’s School of Architecture) in the mid 1970s. Much of what goes on in LUTI modelling can be traced to Lionel and I am not being melodramatic. My talk recounts what we did with probability theory and spatial interaction and how we tried to fashion ideas about priors, posteriors, minimum information and so on. There is much more to say about Lionel’s contributions but readers might be interested in my own thoughts which are in the attached PDF. Enjoy.

Then and Now

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In November 1986 I visited SunYatSen University and gave a public lecture about Urban Modelling. China was a very different world then, no cars, no computers, no email, barely functioning electricity. And of course it was before laptops, networks, hand-held devices and so on. The personal computer had only just been invented. The campus was more or less in the countryside. Despite China opening up in 1979, this was still the old China.

Fast forward 31 years to 2017. The University is now a power house, in the top 10 in China and advancing in the QS university rankings worldwide very rapidly. Since 1986, I have been there a number of times but I never gave any more public lectures until last Tuesday and Wednesday when I more or less repeated what I had talked about 31 years ago. Well not quite, of course; it was the same domain of interest and in the same lineage – but I talked about web-based, large-scale urban models, ideas about big data, smart cities and so on. A world away from those distant years but closely linked intellectually.

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There are no faculty left still working in the School of Geography and Planning from those years but this is not unusual because there is no one left in any of the universities I have worked in before 1990. And it is a little sad that of those who were students then and now senior faculty there, none could remember attending my lecture and I am sure they did not know of it but there were about 130 in the room at the time. I found the building I had lectured in largely because of the poster above which was hand painted for my 1986 visit. Those of you who are Chinese will be able to read this.

Here are the pdfs of the presentations I gave:

Click on these and enjoy.

Modelling World 2016: Complexity in Land Use Transport Models

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Giving a paper on Thursday 2nd June in London at Modelling World. Talking about Complexity in Land Use Transport Interaction (LUTI) Modelling, outlining very briefly our QUANT model for the Future Cities Catapult. This model is designed to simulate employment population and the interactions between and the constraints imposed on development for all of England and Wales at the scale of middle layer super output areas. There are 7201 such areas in E&W so to the scale is pretty typical of LUTI models. The model is web-based meaning that you can run it from anywhere and it is designed for anyone in E&W to explore the impact of changes in employment and population, networks time and costs and also land use constraints. Why only E&W? Well we are working in getting Scotland into it but the data is a little different when it comes to the journey to work and related census geographies.

It is early days as yet and we are still very much in the experimental stage of building this – it is in fact a proof of concept – to show we can build tools that are applicable to everywhere – and so far there are very few models like this one. We are stretching the state of the art in that the model, the data and the user(s) all interact with each other across servers and clients. The data and storage and speed implications of all this are pretty immense. More on this once we develop it further. I will post the talk after I have written it but before the session on June 2nd at 16-30pm at the Oval. Drill down for the content of the meeting etc. And here for my PDF of the talk which is hard to see in the meeting