Centre for Urban Science and Progress London

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Dr Francesco Aletta I was born and raised in Naples (Italy), where I also got my Master’s degree in Architecture (2010) and PhD in Environmental Design (2014) . During my PhD I became more and more interested in the relationships between people and everyday sounds, which prompted me to pursue an academic career in the field of environmental acoustics. In 2013, I joined the Acoustics Group of the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield as a Research Associate to work on the development of soundscape methods within the EU-funded network “SONORUS”. In 2018 I joined UCL IEDE as Research Associate to work with Prof Jian Kang on the Soundscape Indices project, funded by the ERC Advanced Grant scheme. Personal Webpage
Prof Michael Batty Michael Batty is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London where he is Chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). He has worked on computer models of cities and their visualisation since the 1970s and has published several books, such as Cities and Complexity (MIT Press, 2005) and The New Science of Cities (MIT Press, 2013). Both books won the Alonso Prize of the North American Regional Science Association. His most recent book Inventing Future Cities was published by MIT Press in late 2018. His blogs www.complexcity.info cover the science underpinning the technology of cities and his posts and lectures on big data and smart cities are at www.spatialcomplexity.info. Prior to his current position, he was Professor of City Planning and Dean of the School of Environmental Design at the University of Wales at Cardiff from 1979 to 1990 and then Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1990 to 1995.
Erika Brodnock Erika Brodnock is a multi-award winning entrepreneur (including female entrepreneur of the year), philanthropist, life coach, Executive MBA, inspirational speaker, and creator of digital resources covering emotional and social learning, and digital parenting. She is Sky News’ resident parenting expert; and founder of software companies Karisma Kidz and Kami Parents. Erika is passionate about making sure that every child has the opportunity to reach their potential! Her first Tedx talk has been viewed more than 175,000 times and can be found here: https://youtu.be/_bveeRf2NHw
Joe Dignan Joe is the Founder of Kintechi Ltd, an independent consultancy based in London focused on delivering digital transformation at local, regional and national levels. He is a recognised subject matter expert in the digital transformation arena. A professional hybrid; at home in both the public and private sector, he has a background in the Public Sector (where he spent seven years as a chief officer in local and regional govt focussed on economic development), ICT, SME linkage, economic development, education and digital enablement in the UK, Europe, the Far and Middle East. He is on the World Bank’s Smart City Expert Framework, a member of the Stakeholder Group for the European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities Group, the EU-China smart city expert group, NED, Advisory Board Chair, Research Fellow, Visiting Programme Director and Special Adviser to the board of Digital Jersey.
Sophia Goldberg Dr Sophia Goldberg is a Data Scientist and Machine Learning Researcher. She is a Data Scientist at Sky, and previously worked at Streetbees and Isaac Physics, and was a Data Science Fellow at Faculty. She studied her PhD in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary University of London after an undergraduate in Theoretical Physics and master’s in complex networks modelling at Imperial College London. Her research collaborations have led to multiple publications, in informatics, theoretical physics and machine learning, and numerous national and international presentations. Some recent presentations include those at Big Data LDN, Manc ML, and the Treasury. She is experienced in supervising master’s students, and leading and scoping data science projects solutions from R&D to product using techniques in Natural Language Processing, Unsupervised Learning and Deep Learning. She is passionate about Data Science for good and is active in of multiple diversity in STEM and STEM-outreach initiatives.  GitHub and website and Sky website.
Steve Gwynne Dr. Steven Gwynne is Research Lead at Movement Strategies, UK. He has worked in evacuation and pedestrian dynamics for nearly 25 years, adopting academic, consultant and government roles in the UK, US and Canada. He is a former Senior Research Officer at that National Research Council of Canada and Visiting Researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (US). He currently on the adjunct staff at the University of Maryland (US), University of Waterloo (Canada), Lund University (Sweden). As part of his work he has conducted experimental and field observations, and developed and applied modelling/engineering tools to explore issues relating to life safety, security, evacuation dynamics, pedestrian circulation, procedural/structural design, incident investigation, and product design. He has worked in aviation, maritime, rail and the built environment, along with urban-scale scenarios. LinkedIn and ResearchGate pages, and company page.
David Hunter I am a multidisciplinary designer and programmer, creating interactive experiences for spaces and screens, and using data-driven computational design processes. I enjoy working on projects from concept initiation, research, through to final outcome creation, for clients and in collaboration with others. I am Course Leader for UX/UI Design BA(Hons) and a Senior Lecturer on Graphic Design BA(Hons) at Ravensbourne University. I am a researcher, working on the Data Walking project which examines creative data gathering and visualisation. Here is my website and my research project.
Zac Ioannidis I’m a freelance creative technologist and data visualization engineer working with data and tech to design and build platforms and interfaces that solve data-centric business problems and create affective, critical, experiences from physical/digital artifacts. My area of expertise lies in data visualization, information design, and creative uses of data. This involves implementing data-rich UIs that condense and allow for exploration of multi-dimensional datasets. Sometimes it entails developing POCs using emerging technologies and advising on the creative possibilities of tech for communications work. Through this context, I work within multi-disciplinary teams in different stages of product development—from ideation and prototyping to production. My work has been awarded (D&AD, Eurobest, Campaign UK etc) and shortlisted (Cannes) for its creative applications of data and storytelling. Additional work can be found here.
Anant Jani Anant is working on the value based healthcare theme within the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and is interested in understanding and implementing value based healthcare. Before working in healthcare, Anant was a molecular immunologist studying gene regulation and epigenetics in B and T cells. He completed his undergraduate studies at Brandeis University and his doctoral studies at Yale University. Email and publications.
Vishal Kumar Vishal is a Cultural Data Scientist at The Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL researching the economic and social impact of arts and culture in cities. He uses a combination of data science and visualization, machine learning and computer vision, urban economics and social media analytics having written several blog posts and co-authored an academic paper. Vishal invented the job title Cultural Data Scientist and works as a consultant for a range of public and private cultural institutions and was the lead data scientist for the London Borough of Culture Programme 2019 – Waltham Forest Council, and is part of the Technical Reference Group of the next UK City of Culture, Coventry 2021. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Christie’s Education, and is a member of the Museums AI Network and Cities of Culture Research Network. Vishal previously worked at Sotheby’s auction house as the company’s first-ever Data Scientist and holds degrees in BSc Economics & Geography at the London School of Economics, an MA in Art Business at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and studies an MRes in Spatial Data Science and Visualization at UCL as The Bartlett Scholar. Website and Twitter link.
Joanna Kusiak Dr Joanna Kusiak is a Research Fellow in Urban Studies at King’s College, Cambridge. Her work focuses on urban land, property and the role that legal technicalities play in shaping our cities. At CUSP, she hopes to bring perspectives from critical urban studies together with technological innovations in order to experiment with new models of ownership for tackling the housing crisis. A key question for her research is to which extent we can use the data sets and technologies associated with ‘platform capitalism’ to design an efficient and democratic system for allocating socially owned housing? While her research is not confined to any region, Joanna is especially committed – as an activist and as an architecture/urban critic – to the cities of Warsaw and Berlin. In 2019 the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research awarded her essay ‘Legal Technologies of Primitive Accumulation: Judicial Robbery and Dispossession‐by‐Restitution in Warsaw‘ Best Article Prize ‘for the article that makes the most original and outstanding contribution to our understanding of cities and urbanization.’ She tweets at @jkkusiak. Email
Lucas Lacasa Dr Lucas Lacasa is currently Reader in Applied Mathematics at Queen Mary University of London and an EPSRC Early Career Fellow. His research interests are in complexity science, and particularly at the interface between network science and time series analysis, where he has both developed new methods for data analysis and has applied these in a range of scenarios in physics, biology and social sciences. Other interests include nonlinear dynamics and critical phenomena.
Sai Lakshmi Dr Lakshmi is currently CEO & Founder of Caura which is a payment platform for your car, which removes the admin from vehicle ownership and ensures you never get a fine again. The MVP product is launching in Q220 with MOT, VED, tolls and parking functionality. They are working with Kings, Imperial and Oxford to build hardware to disrupt communications and payments in the age of connected and autonomous vehicles. Sai previously founded Echo, which sold to Lloyds Pharmacy owners McKesson Corp in 2019 and previously worked for Apple and Bain after completing a JLR-sponsored PhD in vehicle crash dynamics at Oxford University. He also has a Masters degree in mechanical engineering from Imperial College, London. Links: https://caura.com/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/saislakshmi/ and https://twitter.com/dr_laksai
Shane Mitchell I am a programme leader and business strategist in collaborative applications of technology, the future of cities, sustainable communities, and the development of global public-private innovation ecosystems. I am currently advising on digital transformation programmes, and the role of standards for cities, infrastructure markets, and service developments. I am Director of UrbanPeer Ltd, with leadership experience in global enterprises, and start up enterprises. I have led teams, governance and partnership ecosystems in the development of public service innovation and city strategies, developed CSR programmes, market development strategies, and leading sustainability programmes. I have advised industry players, governments and NGOs, from The Climate Group, the EU, the World Bank, and cities associations such as Metropolis, on their smart community strategies and engagement with entrepreneurs and innovators. Shane is currently on the UK5G Advisory Board’s Connected Places Working Group.
Jali Packer Jali is currently studying for an MSc in Behaviour Change at University College London. He is interested in how we can understand residents’ perceptions of their neighbourhoods and how these perceptions relate to broader psychological phenomena. His current research explores how we can increase engagement from marginalised communities in urban regeneration projects, to ensure that urban development is an inclusive and sustainable process.  His undergraduate thesis, conducted in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs and the Cambridge Personality & Social Dynamics Research Group, applied Big Data approaches to understanding human behaviour and personality. This paper investigated the relationship between personality and urban ambiance of neighborhoods in New York City, analysing a large-scale personality dataset and inferring urban ambiance from geo-referenced Flickr photos using computerized text analysis. He recently presented this research at the Society for Personality & Social Psychology annual convention in New Orleans: Personal webpage
Dr Claire Papaix Dr Claire Papaix is Senior Lecturer of Transport & Business Logistics at the University of Greenwich (UK), Programme Leader of the MA Logistics & Supply Chain Management, founding member of the Connected Cities Research Group and Associate of the King’s College’s Urban Science And Progress (CUSP). She has experience in business creation and events management in the area if public health and community engagement through wellness and fitness and is a mentor of the University’s Enterprise Challenge. Her research interests include sustainable urban mobility, policy implementation, transport wellbeing appraisal, community engagement, citizen science, smart cities, public health and urban wellness. Previously, she obtained a PhD in Economics at The French Institute of Sciences and Technologies for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR) on the topic: ‘Implementation of low‐carbon mobility policy in urban areas’. For this, she focused on the environmental effectiveness, equity outcomes and acceptability challenges of various policy scenarios for travellers and used a triangulation of quantitative research methods to test her hypotheses. Personal webpage
Dr Katharine Willis Dr. Katharine Willis is an Associate Professor (Reader) in the School of Art, Design and Architecture. Her research expertise includes smart cities, digital placemaking and social inclusion. She is the co-author with Alex Aurigi of two key Routledge volumes on Smart Cities, and the 2015 book; Netspaces: Space and Place in a Networked World. She established and leads the MA in Smart Urban Futures at University of Plymouth. Email and Personal Webpage
Jon Wood Jon is a doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge. His research is interdisciplinary and explores the intersection of sustainable architecture, ecological restoration and environmental psychology. His work aims to identify the qualities of nature associated with improved mental health and inform design guidelines for architects and landscape architects. He is an environmental entrepreneur, a visiting scholar at Harvard University and he founded and leads a research group entitled Nature, Health and Built Environment (NHBE). Previously he read for an MPhil in Architecture (Cantab), MEnt in Environment and Development and BSc in Geography. Website