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“Segregation by Design” discusses racial segregation in American cities. Using St. Louis as a point of departure, it examines the causes and consequences of residential segregation, and proposes potential mitigation strategies. While an introduction, timeline and historical overview frame the subject, nine topic-specific conversations – between invited academics, policy makers and urban professionals – provide the main structure. Each of these conversations is contextualized by a photograph, an editors’ note and an essay written by a respected current or former St. Louisan. The essayists respond to the conversations by speaking to the impacts of segregation and by suggesting innovative policy and design tactics from their professional or academic perspective. The purpose of the book, therefore, is not to provide original research on residential segregation, but rather to offer a unique collection of insightful, transdisciplinary reflections on the experience of segregation in America and how it might be addressed.
Springer: Can you give us an overview of the work you published in the book “Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems”?
Michael Batty: There was nothing like it at the time – we thought it was a decent edited collection with little competition but quite niche. We tried to review the field as widely as possible ... and hope this book would have enticed people to build agent based models.
Why is Urban Studies an important area to study?
Because it is extremely broad and it also contains many many different perspectives and the key to understanding cities is to be able to deal and handle with these many perspectives.
What are today’s hottest trends/topics in the field?
Well, AI is getting a lot of mileage – but a key issue is what happens as cities get bigger – we have a love affair with big cities these days. That is very different from 100 years ago when big cities were despised. A big issue is debt and cities I think – the markets and investments.
What are the challenges the field faces today and what can be the possibilities for the future?
The biggest issue is to get some sort of integrated perspective across many different fields.
Professor Michael Batty CBE FRS FBA Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London, UK
Michael Batty is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London where he is Chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). He has worked on computer models of cities and their visualisation since the 1970s and has published several books and blogs at www.complexcity.info and www.spatialcomplexity.info. Prior to his current position, he was Professor of City Planning and Dean at the University of Wales at Cardiff from 1979 to 1990 and then Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1990-1995). He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) and the Royal Society (FRS), was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2004 and the 2013 recipient of the Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud. In 2015 he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his work on the science of cities. In 2016, he received the Senior Scholar Award of the Complex Systems Society and the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
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Springer’s publications in Urban Studies align with Springer Nature’s wider goal of highlighting the best research that can advance our understanding of how to make cities sustainable. This commitment to sustainable cities research is part of the Springer Nature Grand Challenges programme, which aims to deliver the most rigorous research to all who are in a position to take action to solve the urgent global challenges that face us as a society. For more information about this initiative, visit our Grand Challenges portal.
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