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Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities Seminar Series 2019

Snacks and refreshments will be served at every event. To assist us in managing numbers and avoiding food waste, please let us know if you are planning to attend via the registration page.

Understanding how mapping a city becomes a tool for analysis

Peat Allan, Ordnance Survey
7 March, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03

Ordnance Survey mapping provides more than just an up to date view of our geography but can act as a catalogue of the changing landscape and if used well provide a valuable tool in the creation of intelligence about both our urban spaces and the natural environment. Peat will explore how this can be achieved and will use some of our cities to provide some thought-provoking maps that support so many of our famous geographers’ insights. He has linked Ordnance Survey data to ONS statistics, Land Registry ownership and price data and Local Government Registers, Crime and Health and Energy data to generate a series of valuable data sets that work well together to show us the issues that affect life in modern Britain, and as a throw away final act he will endeavour to help would be house buyers understand how geography could be used to help them find somewhere to live. Peat has been working for Ordnance Survey since 1993.

Past Events

How Data Philanthropy can Help us Understand Contemporary Urban Environments

Professor Alexander Singleton, Geographic Data Science Lab, University of Liverpool
17 January, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03

Cities are awash with data that provide partial and fleeting glimpses into human activities and their contexts. Unlike many of those traditional sources of data that have been used to provide insight about population attributes and human behaviour, data are often located within the commercial sector and have limited degrees of access. Data Philanthropy provides a model for the more egalitarian access to such data. This talk focuses on the operationalisation of this concept within a UK context through case studies developed at the Geographic Data Science Lab. Alexander is a professor of geographic data science at the University of Liverpool. He holds a PhD in geography from UCL, London.

The Power of Networks

Professor Francisco Rodrigues, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sao Paulo
24 January, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03
Complex networks are everywhere, from the Internet, to social networks, and the ecological interactions in ecosystems. These networks represent the organisation of complex systems and are the medium in which information, diseases or failures propagate. In this talk, we will show how Network Science has been used to model different problems in our society. Our last results related to the identification of the most influential spreaders in social networks, modelling of epidemic processes and power grid dynamics will be presented. Many applications related to traffic flow in cities and diagnosis of mental disorders will also be discussed. Finally, we will show the future of Network Science and the current challenges. Francisco is the leader of the Complex Systems Group at the University of São Paulo. He is currently visiting Warwick’s Mathematics department as a Leverhulme Fellow.

TfWM: Data-driven Transport Policy and Strategy

Alex Greatholder, Transport for West Midlands, Birmingham
31 January, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) co-ordinates investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure. Alex will present how TfWM is starting to use data and digital strategies to better inform policy making and strategic decision making for new transport provision. This talk will cover TfWM’s digital ambition for transport to be less hindsight, more insight leading to foresight. This means knowing the impact an event will have before it is made and assessing the impact as it occurs not simply assessing the impact after the event has occurred. Covering two case studies surrounding the new ‘Road Safety Strategy’ and the ‘2026 Delivery Plan’, it will be discussed how data has helped TfWM improve the positive impact in the areas of road safety and transport planning.
Alex is the Senior Policy Officer at TfWM. He has a background in Materials Science in which he earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Cambridge, and he has worked for Staffordshire and Birmingham City Councils before joining TfWM in 2017.

The ShareTown Project

Jenni Lloyd, NESTA London
7 February, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03
ShareTown is an imaginary town created to explore a preferred future for the way citizens, technology and local government live and work together. ShareTown is not intended as a prediction, but a source of inspiration - a way of setting a deliberately positive direction of travel. Many of the details of this town emerged from a May 2018 workshop with leaders from local government and civil society. Identifying criteria for a positive future for public service delivery, we looked for seeds of that future in projects and social innovations from the present, including Nesta’s ShareLab programme. In this presentation Jenni Lloyd will frame the context that prompted ShareTown and invite participants to explore and critique the work. Jenni is a Programme Manager on the ShareLab Fund of NESTA. She is also the current chair of the Brighton Digital Festival, a trustee of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Foundation and a non-executive director of Wired Sussex.

Expropriation and Stealth: Remaking Popular Platforms of Sense and Computation in the Urban South

AbdouMaliq Simone, The Urban Institute, University of Sheffield
21 February, 12noon, Westwood Teaching Centre, WT0.03
Underlying the deployment of digital infrastructures in contemporary urbanization processes is continuous patterning of things of different ontologies and times. Each occasion of sensing always proposes for the world a surplus of patterned potential, a way of taking the combinations of the past and finding within them the potential of the recombinant—for sociality is always a matter of recomposing. This sense of the recombinant has constituted a platform of value creation and value extraction for those urban residents “left out” of the normative modalities of production and regularization. Practices of “popular computation” continuously reshaped transactions, reciprocities, and collaborations across increasingly heterogeneous social and built fabrics. These practices of what we might call autoconstruction increasingly constitute the underlying asset for forms of managing uncertain futures that will never belong to the residents—from pay as you go services to the conversion of a barrio into cheap sex motel. Are there other ways to work with this process and transform it into a platform of opacity or affordability for the endurance of long appearing recombinant capacities?

Innovation in advanced urban services

Rob Whitehead, Future Cities Catapult London
28 February, 4pm, Ramphal Building, R0.03
The complexity of city systems, coupled with the advances in technology and availability of data to support decision making, open new business opportunities for companies in advanced urban services. This is the cycle of moving from data insights to actionable business propositions, all with a drive to make cities healthy, liveable and sustainable for citizens to live and work there. The Future Cities Catapult is uniquely placed to drive the market through developing buyer confidence, through understanding the supply chain all the way from business to customer and improving this through key interventions. Our projects have included developing common standards for Internet of Things (IoT) products in cities as well looking at governance structures that help city authorities perform as more informed buyers. Rob will present on the future/smart cities landscape and dive deep into to some areas ripe for innovation such as urban planning, and micromobility, with case studies from the UK and beyond. He will also cover the role of a government backed innovation agency in this ecosystem, and how our unique position between business, academia and policy, allows us to have the greatest impact for a the 80% of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by the year 2050.

Visiting Warwick