Events
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    Social Physics in the Big City

    By Clare S Ryan, on 12 December 2012

    CASA’s ENFOLDing group used real data from the
    London riots and contagion modelling principles to
    create a riot model that could be used to identify
    areas of high risk and predict the outcome of
    police response.

    So what the heck is “social physics” anyway? That’s probably the question that most people who rocked up to Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick’s Lunch Hour Lecture, Social Physics in the Big City, were thinking to themselves.

    No offence, but physicists aren’t exactly famed for their social brilliance (as Martin is quick to point out). However, having met Martin before, I was slightly more optimistic.

    It turns out that Martin (who describes himself as a social physicist FYI) has some fairly hefty academic forefathers including 19th century French philosopher Auguste Comte (sadly not related to the delicious French cheese) and his contemporary, the mathematician and sociologist Adolphe Quatelet.

    These two had the idea of using maths to predict the future of society – an aim they had in common with later thinkers such as Karl Marx (big ideas, less successful when it came to undermining capitalism in the long run) and Isaac Asimov (great science fiction author, less great academic).

    (more…)

    UCL-Lancet Commission: Shaping Cities for Health

    By news editor, on 6 June 2012

    Jessica Lowrie, UCL Communications & Marketing intern.

    By 2030, globally, three in five people will live in cities. Despite the perception that city living provides an ‘urban advantage’ over those who live in rural areas, those who live in poor urban areas can often have worse health outcomes than wealthier city residents, but also in comparison to rural dwellers.

    Urban and economic growth will not automatically create an ‘urban advantage’ – public policy is needed to maintain and improve conditions to allow for such an advantage to exist.

    Healthy cities
    This concept was the foundation for an event held by the UCL-Lancet Commission on 30 May to launch their high-profile report on Healthy Cities, published on the same day.

    The report was the second from the UCL-Lancet Commission, recognising the valued commitment from both organisations to UCL’s Grand Challenges (Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing).

    The well-organised and insightful event began with introductions from Professor David Price (UCL Vice-Provost – Research) and Professor Richard Horton (Editor, the Lancet).

    Professor Yvonne Rydin (UCL Bartlett School of Planning), lead author of the report, then embarked on a comprehensive overview of the report and its main findings.

    Professor Rydin explained that the report aimed “to understand how better health outcomes can be delivered through interventions in urban environments in cities across the world”.

    Certain components of a healthy city seem obvious: good water and sanitation infrastructures, clean air, uncontaminated land, safe homes, opportunities for safe and active mobility and effective green infrastructure.

    (more…)

    Smart Cities: exhibition and conference

    By news editor, on 24 April 2012

    Last Friday (April 20th), more than 350 members of the public attended the ‘Smart Cities: Bridging Physical and Digital’ open day, hosted by the Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA).

    The full day of talks, accompanied by the ‘Smart Cities’ exhibition, was aimed at opening a discussion on the meaning behind the Smart City and, perhaps more importantly, how to make it a reality.

    Four articles covering the day’s highlights and research announcements appeared in Wired with a further two in New Scientist and finally a mention in the Independent, helping to make the event one of the most successful in the history of CASA.

    (more…)