MIT e-Planning Seminar

Michael Batty

University College London, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), Director

"Multimedia and Public Participation: Using New Information Technologies in Urban Regeneration"

Monday, December 1, 2003

MIT Rm. 10-401, 12:15PM - 2:00PM

Suggested DUSP Discussants: Denis Frenchman, Anne Spirn, Ralph Gakenheimer

Contemporary software is increasingly being fashioned for purposes of visual communication to the widest possible publics where usage by professionals and academics is one of the least important criteria. In urban planning for example, most GIS is being used for purposes of communication rather than professional action and problem-solving while advances in new forms of visual communication are being increasingly forged at the cutting edge by those interested in web-based dissemination for routine activities, games playing, and the delivery of visual information to hand-held devices.

In this talk, I will outline how we are responding to such issues through a series of current projects, which involve a mixture of 3-D GIS, multimedia content and user interface design issues. What we are currently seeing is a fusion of technologies. Low cost affordable mapping strategies for web-based environments are being developed using multimedia packages such as Flash while professional 2-D GIS as reflected in packages such as ArcGIS are being fast ported into the 3-dimensional world which is becoming the main interface. We will focus on three directions all of which involves non-conventional solutions to he problem of visualising the built environment. All our projects are focused on web-based dissemination, on the fusion of multimedia with 3-D GIS, set within a series of strong educational and e-democracy imperatives which are being pioneered by government in the UK.

We will begin by outlining our experiences with developing web-based visualisation resources for the local community, for children and young adults for grass roots community-based architecture, for old people with little grasp of modern computing but who are interested in their local environment, and for those publics whose lives are being turned upside down by various urban regeneration initiatives. These projects are set in east London. All of them are helping forge more formalised approaches to delivering visual context about the environment to planners and public interest groups. As part of the UK government’s e-democracy initiatives, we will outline our Virtual London project in which 3-D GIS is being fused with ideas about virtual worlds.


CASA: 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT,

Look at our working papers specifically Online Participation: The Woodberry Down Experiment, Andy Hudson-Smith, Steve Evans, Michael Batty, and Susan Batty

Also look at Hudson-Smith, A., Evans, S., Batty, M., and Batty, S.) Experiments in Web-Based GIS, in P. A. Longley and M. Batty (Editors) Advanced Spatial Analysis: The CASA Book of GIS, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA, 369-390

Michael Batty

Michael Batty is Professor of Spatial Analysis and Planning at the University College London where he directs the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). He was previously Director of the SUNY Buffalo site of NCGIA and was Professor and Head of the Department of City and Regional Planning in the University of Wales at Cardiff from 1979 until 1990. He has degrees from the University of Manchester (BA) and Wales (PhD), is a Fellow of the British Academy as well as a Fellow of the RTPI, CIT and RSA. His research is in the development of computer based technologies, specifically graphics-based and mathematical models for cities, and he has worked recently on applications of fractal geometry and cellular automata to urban structure. His most recent books are Fractal Cities (Academic Press, 1994) and Spatial Analysis: Modelling in a GIS Environment (Pearson GeoInformation, 1996). He is also the Editor of the journal Environment and Planning B.

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