Science of Cities: Michael Batty new coined scientific discipline

A new “Science of Cities” has been established by Prof. Michael Batty from University College of London coining the term in 2013.

In his book, almost a manifesto, The new Science of Cities (MIT Press, Cambridge. MA, 2013), he argues that the new science understands cities not simply as places in space but as systems of networks and flows. To understand space, he argues, we must understand flows, and to understand flows, we must understand networks, and the relations between objects that comprise the city system.

Science of Cities must work with and within complexity science, social physics, urban economics, transportation theory, regional science, and urban geography.

 Urban planning as a research field is considered sometimes a semi scientific discipline that is not even as “lucky” as computer science, discipline within which even wrong premises can sometimes result in correct answers. Even right premises taken from tested theories might, most of the time, bring unexpected, unwanted, and above all, uninvited outcomes. The process of narrowing down the framework through which questions are explored usually does not bring a more accurate estimate of the condition and worsens the process of finding solutions.

 The first approach to the “Science Cities” was already done by the Professor in his publication of 2005 Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with cellular Automata, Agent-Based Models, and Fractals (MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2005.).

It was demonstrated then a clear need to define future approach methodologies between computing and urban design.

Since then, several research teams have developed programs to develop this relationship as the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities or the UCL CASA research group program in Smart Cities.

Almost 10 years later the gap claimed by Batty in 2005 is still there to some extent and few are interested in filling that void but with industrial software development without any scientific or discipline base.

One Comment

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