Modelling Evolution and Change in the Built Environment

Professor Peter Allen email web

School of Management, Cranfield University


Traditionally, science has attempted to understand urban systems using a reductionist approach in which the behaviour of a system (city or region) is represented as being an equilibrium mechanical interaction of its components. This equilibrium assumption views their spatial distribution as optimal and stationary. Over recent decades, however, attempts have been made to introduce more dynamic approaches, in which equilibrium is not assumed, and there are now many models and methods that try to do this. Today, we see that issues of sustainability have become important and so the design, location and number of buildings, together with the use of space and activities of the occupiers will undergo serious change. Energy and environmental costs as well as transport costs will change the patterns of usage of our built space, as well as the patterns of demand for new buildings together with that of transport, communications and accessibility. Modelling tools can be developed today that will allow us to better imagine possible developments and designs, testing the overall impacts of different urban built environments and land-use as well as their resilience and flexibility to changing requirements over time. This offers the possibility of better planning and design and improved sustainability of our future towns and cities.


Slides of the lecture can be downloaded here: PDF

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