2013 USC Meeting: Imperial College London


The next meeting of the Urban Systems Collaborative will be held at the Imperial College in South Kensington, London on 10-11 September 2013.  Over the coming weeks will be blogging and reporting on the development of this conference.  The meeting is generally open and free of charge to anyone, but we will have a capacity limit of around 80 people.  This is an active event, not a passive conference, so come expecting to think and work!  Click register to provide your coordinates for the event.  BTW once you have registered, this link will re-direct you back to our Home page to avoid duplicate registrations.  Participants in this meeting can take advantage of special rates arranged by Imperial College with local hotels.

The core of the Urban Systems Collaborative is our interest in the roles that flows of information play in cities.  Our meetings in April and September 2012 focused respectively on the flow of information in planning and design processes and on the flows of information in infrastructure services.  Our meeting in September 2013 will look at the roles of information flows in how the inhabitants exploit and experience the capabilities of public and private services in the city.

In the age of smart or intelligent cities, we have new found means to make visible the information that represents how the inhabitants are using the capabilities offered by the city.  This information can then be analysed to detect important patterns of usage.  It can be broadcast or narrowcast to individuals or groups likely to benefit from rapid access and it can be combined with other spatially or temporally dissociated information to provide new perspectives on possible ways to exploit the city’s capabilities.

By these means, we believe that we can enable the inhabitants to more easily or more completely fulfill their short-term goals and we can enable the city to learn about these goals and desires and to adapt in the long-term to better fulfill them both collectively and for individuals.

In our London meeting we will explore these new approaches under the headings of:

The Adaptive City

The Personalised City

The Supportive City, and

Perceptions of the Quality of Life

We have almost completed arrangements with panelists and speakers to cover this range of topics.  See the current version of the programme below.

For more details on the thinking behind these themes and the structure of the meeting, please download a short white paper USC London Meeting.

We are running a weekly series of blog discussions leads by the leaders of the four sessions and we hope that your responses to these blogs will continue to shape the event.  See the first of these in Joe Cortright’s cautionary view of Smart Cities.  In the coming weeks you will be seeing statements posted on our Blog on these topics by the leading speakers and panelists and we encourage you to join in a discussion on each of the themes.



The USC event will be held in the Skempton Building at “27” on the map. Entrance to the building is the yellow triangle below the word “Skempton”, signage will direct delegates from the entrance to the meeting rooms.

The videos recorded during the workshop are being posted to the Urban Systems Collaborative channel on YouTube.  We are currently missing the opening 90 minutes, but hope to add these shortly.


Day One – Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Time Theme Presenter/Facilitator 
09:00 Welcome Prof. John Polak, Imperial College
9:15 Panel – The City as a Design Problem Prof. Michael Batty, University College London; Shane Mitchell, Cisco Urban Innovation; Michael Weinstock, Architectural Association. Facilitator Colin Harrison (USC)
10:00 Break
10:30 Summarise thus far Colin Harrison
10:45 Break out group discussions by 4 sub-themes: 4 parallel workshops
The Adaptive City Richard Dawson, University of Newcastle
The Personalised City Shane Mitchell, Cisco Urban Innovation Practice
The Supportive City Marjan Sarshar School of Arts and Architecture, Nottingham Trent University
Perceptions of Quality of Life Rick Robinson, IBM UK
12:00 Report by group rapporteurs. Jurij Paraszczak, IBM Research
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Talks on illustrative projects Prof. Michael Batty, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analytics, UCL (Presentation, Talk VideoFlood Video  Pulse of the City Video), Prof. Richard Dawson, Earth Systems Engineering, Newcastle University (Presentation, Talk Video), Prof. Martin Rieser, Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University (Presentation, Talk Video)
15:00 Break
15:30 Summarise thus far Colin Harrison
15:45 4 break out group discussions to develop scenarios. Themes as before.
17:00 Report by group rapporteurs. Jurij Paraszczak, IBM Research (Talk Video)
17:30 Keynote presentation Peter Madden, CEO of the Future Cities Catapult (Talk Video)
18:00 Student Poster Session and Reception
20:00 Exeunt Omnes
Day Two – Wednesday, 11 September 2013
09:00 Summarise Day 1 Jurij Paraszczak (Talk Video)
09:15 Talk on “Urban CCD” Kate Kusiak Galvin, Urban Center for Computation and Data (Talk Video)
10:30 Break
11:00 4 break out group discussions to refine scenarios, cross-cutting. Themes as before.
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Talk on “Quality of Life” Samir Menon, Eco Sustainability Services, Tata Consulting Services (Talk Video)
15:00 Break
15:30 Panel – Industry Views on People and Smart Cities Volker Buscher, Arup (Talk Video); Shane Mitchell, Cisco (Talk Video), and Jurij Paraszczak, IBM (Presentation, Talk Video). Facilitator Colin Harrison, USC.  Discussion Video.
16:30 Closing panel by workshop rapporteurs. Jurij Paraszczak (Talk Video)
17:15 Wrap-up John Polak, Imperial College (Talk Video) and Jurij Paraszczak, IBM
20:00 Exeunt Omnes