Future Cities: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

AURIN proudly presents a lecture and panel discussion featuring world-renowned British urban planner and geographer Professor Mike Batty and a panel of Australian experts discussing how urban system models, smart cities and big data can help shape our urban future.

World-renowned British urban planner and geographer Professor Michael Batty—winner of geography’s equivalent of a Nobel, the Vautrin Lud Prize—will discuss how big data and decision science can predict and shape Australia’s changing cities.

For more than fifty years planners have been using computers to predict future land use, traffic, and energy management. But cities and our behaviours within them are changing so dramatically it is hard for our science to keep up.

Now we have both the complex modelling tools and the data—generated by technology embedded in day-to-day urban life—to make scientific urban modelling feasible and incredibly valuable. In Australia, for example, AURIN – (Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network) is providing urban researchers and government policy analysts with large scale data, analytical tools and methods to make data driven decisions to improve our cities and regions.

Professor Batty will explore ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ elements of this change, illustrated with a number of studies of how smart cities technologies are infusing, informing and potentially confounding planning in London.

How is big data being used to improve the London Tube system? How useful was modern urban modelling in predicting the impacts of a big infrastructure project like the 2012 Olympic Games? And how might this approach help London and the Thames Gateway prepare for the climate change adaptation challenges of sea level rise?

The ‘good’ sees how computer models of urban systems have been revolutionised in recent years into contemporary models, integrated via the web and cloud computing. The ‘bad’ shows how big cities are not necessarily smart cities. The ‘ugly’ relates to the potential for inequalities in growing and increasingly automated cities and the other future challenges, such as climate change.

Following the lecture Professor Batty will be joined by a panel of Australian experts to discuss how will cities filled with computational technologies transition our world from one based on energy to one centered on information.