Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar: Inventing Future Cities

Join the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring Michael Batty, Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London (UCL), on February 25 from 12:40-1:40 p.m.

Cities are largely unpredictable because they are complex systems that are more like organisms than machines. Neither the laws of economics nor the laws of mechanics apply; cities are the product of countless individual and collective decisions that do not conform to any grand plan. In this lecture, Michael Batty will explore what we need to understand about cities in order to invent their future, focusing on many of the ideas concerning science, prediction, and complexity that have been useful in thinking about cities and urban planning in the last 50 years. He will provide the example of COVID-19 as one of the key features of the modern world that cannot be predicted.

Batty serves as chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. His work is focused on computer models of cities and their visualization, and more recently how computation lies at the heart of the smart cities movement. His most recent books are The New Science of Cities (2013) and Inventing Future Cities (2018) published by MIT Press. He is the editor of Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. You can follow his research is at

To join the event on February 25, go to this link.

The event is part of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the 21st century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page.

For more information, contact Hao Huang at

Join the event.