The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Seminar Series 2021-22

CASA Seminar Series

Co-hosts Dr Max NathanDr Jon ReadesProf Adam Dennett and Dr Sarah Wise are delighted to announce the speakers for the CASA Seminar Series this year.

Seminars are held every Wednesday in term time at 4pm. Click the links below to book your (free) place.

Wednesday 13 October: Karen Chapple, University of Toronto
The expectation of a mass movement out of cities due to the rise of remote work associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, is counter to longstanding theories of the benefits of agglomeration economies. It suggests centrifugal shifts of economic activity that could boost neighbourhood economies at the expense of the downtown core. Using mobile phone data from SafeGraph, we track migration and daily mobility patterns throughout four U.S. metropolitan areas (Austin, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco) between July 2019 and June 2021. We find that diverse suburban centres and exurban areas have generally bounced back more quickly than dense specialized commercial districts, but outcomes vary depending on local economic structure and urban form.

Speaker bio: Karen Chapple, PhD, is the inaugural Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, where she also serves as Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. She is Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair and held the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the U.S. and Latin America, with a focus on economic development and housing.


Wednesday 20 October: Janet Chapman, Crowd2Map / Tanzania Development Trust

Speaker bio: TBC

Wednesday 27 October: Elizabeth Dellmelle, UNC Charlotte

Speaker bio: I am an urban and transportation geographer and a Geographic Information Scientist. I am fascinated by cities and neighborhoods and in understanding their processes of change. I love searching for new and creative ways of visualizing and analyzing these dynamic processes – from the more complex geocomputational approaches to the simple word cloud made from real estate listings-I enjoy seeking out new data sources or methods and investigating their potentials and limitations in illuminating processes of change.



Wednesday 03 November: Professor Adam Dennett, UCL CASA
While recent debates have widely acknowledged gentrification’s varied manifestations, success in enumerating and disentangling the process and its defining features from other forms of neighbourhood change at-scale and across entire cities, has remained largely elusive. This paper addresses this gap and employs a novel, open and reproducible urban analytics approach to systematically examine the past and future trajectories of neighbourhood change using London, England, as a case-study example. Using suites of datasets relating to population, house prices and built environment development, the nature of gentrification’s mutations and its spatial patterns are extracted through a multi-stage data dimensionality reduction and classification methodology. Machine Learning is subsequently adopted to model gentrification’s observed trends and predict its future frontiers with interactive visualisation methods offering new insights into gentrification’s projected dynamics and geographies.

Speaker bio: Professor Adam Dennett is Professor of Urban Analytics and Head of Department at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London. Adam is a geographer with diverse research interests which have included in recent years, population and migration, the geographies beer and brewing in urban areas and improving our data landscapes though crowd sourcing or synthetic data approaches. He has ongoing research interests in areas such as gentrification and neighbourhood change, residential mobilities, housing, urban health and retail modelling. Has a passion for open science, reproducible methods and for applied urban science to have real world impact through collaborative endeavours with urban governments


Wednesday 17 November: John Burn-Murdoch, Financial Times

Speaker bio: Chief Data Reporter, Financial Times



Wednesday 24 November: James Gleeson, Greater London Authority (GLA)

Speaker bio: I’m the Housing Research and Analysis Manager in the housing policy team at the Greater London Authority, where I have worked since 2007. In 2012 I finished an MSc in Human Geography with a specialism in urban economics at the LSE and in 2014 I worked with the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL on their Talisman project.




Wednesday 01 December: Dani Arribas-Bel, University of Liverpool

Speaker bio: I am a Senior Lecturer in Geographic Data Science at the Department of Geography and Planning , and member of the Geographic Data Science Lab, at the University of Liverpool (UK), where I direct the MSc in Geographic Data Science. From 2020 to 2023, I am also an ESRC Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute .

I am part of the development team of the open source library PySAL for spatial analysis in Python; and created contextily, a small Python package to use web tile services in static maps.

Since 2019, I am co-editor of "Environment and Planning B - Urban Analytics and City Science" and, since 2020, I am also in the editorial panel of "Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A - Statistics in Society".



Wednesday 08 December: Ramya Ragupathy, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap

Speaker bio: Ramya Ragupathy is the backend developer of almost all of HOT’s crucial software tools developed in-house. She contributes to all daily technical operations. Ramya has been supporting OpenStreetMap since 2015, takes part in building a data for good community and likes fun maps, taking GPS traces, and photographic records of her travels.



Wednesday 15 December: Martyna Jasinska, Edge Analytics

Speaker bio: As Operations Director, Martyna is responsible for the management of Finance, Administration, Human Resources and IT, ensuring effective running of the business. Martyna is also Edge Analytics’ designated Data Privacy Manager, with responsibility for ensuring compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Martyna has extensive experience of the development and delivery of demographic products and services to a wide range of public and private sector organisations, including managing the development of our projects in the Utilities sector. Martyna also coordinates the provision of support to all POPGROUP users, both in the UK and internationally and, most recently, has overseen the development of our VICUS forecasting technology.

Martyna joined Edge Analytics in 2011 whilst completing her degree in Human Geography at the University of Leeds. Martyna has previously worked as a Research Assistant to Professor Phil Rees at the School of Geography in Leeds.

Martyna is originally from the village of Pluski in the Warmia & Masuria region of Poland, its ‘land of a thousand lakes’. In her spare time, she is a keen cyclist, walker and fundraiser.


Wednesday 12 January: CASA Seminar Series: Agraw Ali and Thet Hein Tun, DigitalTransport 4 Africa

Agraw Ali and Thet Hein Tun (Digital Transport for Africa): Digital Transport for Africa: A Collaborative Continental Mapping Effort

About the speakers

Agraw is a GIS research analyst at the WRI Africa regional office. He works to present technical experience, analysis and administrative assist to the WRI Africa Cities Program focusing on the scaling of transit mapping in African cities for improved transport planning.

Prior to joining WRI, Agraw worked as a research associate in a laboratory at the University of Seoul. Before that, He worked at the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University as an assistant lecturer. In addition to that, he has participated in various GIS, urban planning and design projects in Ethiopia.

Agraw holds a Master’s of Science in urban planning and design from the University of Seoul in Korea and a Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.



Hein is a Transportation Research Associate at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, where he conducts research on innovative mobility enterprises, transport electrification, open mobility data and transport mapping, and paratransit systems in the developing world, especially in East Africa and India. Hein also coordinates program management on the Digital Transport for Africa (DT4A).

Hein has extensive international experience working on public transportation projects in Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining WRI, Hein worked for UN-Habitat and UNFPA in Myanmar as an urbanization consultant for the 2014 National Census Thematic Report on Migration and Urbanization. Hein also interned for the Housing, Economic and Infrastructure Planning (HEIP) Division of the New York City Department of Planning, where he mapped the synergies between “Innovative economy” firms.

Hein earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Humanities from Bucknell University. He received his master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Analytics at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Wednesday 19 January - CASA Seminar Series: Omar Guerrero, Alan Turing Institute

Omar Guerrero, Alan Turing Institute: Modeling Sustainable Development from the Bottom Up: Coupling Open Data and Agent Computing to Inform. This event has been arranged by CASA the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

About the talk

The explicit acknowledgement of the complexity of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is one of the main innovations of this international agenda. However, the formal analysis of complex systems in the SDG literature remains scant, as most of the focus is given to (top-down) aggregate models such as systems dynamics and networks of indicators. In this talk, I will argue that an adequate treatment of complexity needs to look at development as a bottom-up process, with macro-level outcomes emerging from micro-level interventions. From a quantitative point of view, popular methodologies such as statistical analysis and machine learning are inadequate to deal with this vertical causation since the existing data are aggregate and coarse grained (typically annual development indicators). To resolve this, models with explicit agent-level causal mechanisms are needed, and agent computing is the right tool to create them. I will present the research program of Policy Priority Inference (oguerr.com/ppi), which employs agent computing to model the SDGs from the perspective of public expenditure interventions. I will discuss several applications related to policy coherence, policy resilience, feasibility, fiscal federalism, accelerators, and bottlenecks; as well as the country-case studies in which they have been applied. This programme provides a fresh perspective to the challenges of multidimensional development, and a rigorous approach to exploit not only indicators, but also new sources such as open spending data.

About the Speaker

Omar Guerrero at Alan Turing Institute

Omar Guerrero is the Head of Computational Social Science Research and leads the Policy Modelling Theme at the Turing's public policy programme. He is an economist by training, and has a PhD in Computational Social Science (CSS) from George Mason University. Previously, he worked at University College London and at the University of Oxford.



Wednesday 26 January - CASA Seminar Series: Fran Meissner, University of Twente

'Migration Information Infrastructures meet urban research: how (else) should we study urban migration in times of big data'. This event has been arranged by CASA the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

About the talk

This presentation will focus on answering the question: how migration researchers should engage with research ethics in relation to the new capacities, practices, and data sources available in our current times of datafication. Starting from recent developments in migration research, the paper works towards elucidating that question for urban contexts. The question is considered through what we term a migration information infrastructures lens. This lens pays particular attention to emerging public-private configurations which produce both new data and new approaches to migration research. To get at what with ethics and migration research in times of big data, we try to illustrate the differing bases on which migration research must be judged now that it can draw on data sources and practices not available to previous generations of scholars and policy researchers.

About the Speaker

Fran Meissner at University of Twente

Fran Meissner’s main research interest is focused on contemporary urban social configurations and how – in times of datafication – these are transformed through international migration. She is an Assistant Professor in Critical Geodata Studies and Geodata Ethics at the University of Twente. Before starting at Twente Fran was an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Leiden. She has previously held a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship at the TU Delft and a Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence. Fran remains a long term research partner at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, where she completed her PhD work as a Doctoral Research Fellow.



Wednesday 2 February - CASA Seminar Series: Esra Suel, ETH / Imperial

Esra Suel, ETH / Imperial: Using imagery for measuring urban environments. This event has been arranged by CASA the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

About the talk

Esra will talk about her work that focuses on using emerging sources of digital data, street-level and satellite images more specifically, for characterising urban environments and inequalities.

About the Speaker Esra Suel

at ETH / Imperial

Esra is a Senior Assistant at the Chair of Geoinformation Engineering, ETH Zurich. She also holds a Health Data Research Fellow position at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London. She obtained her PhD from the Centre for Transport Studies at Imperial College London.


More about Esra Suel

Wednesday 9 February - CASA Seminar Series: Tom Kemeny, Queen Mary University London

Tom Kemeny, QMUL: Disruptive innovation and the great divergence.

This event has been arranged by CASA the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Tom Kemeny at Queen Mary University London

About the speaker

Tom Kemeny is an Associate Professor (Reader) in Economic Development at Queen Mary, University of London, and a Visiting Fellow at LSE’s International Inequalities Institute. He has held academic appointments at the University of Southampton, LSE, UNC Chapel Hill, and UCLA, where he received his PhD.

Tom is a social scientist studying cities, focusing on the determinants of economic prosperity and inequality. His current research takes a long-run view on the links between major, disruptive innovation and economic inequality. He also has longstanding interests in the ways that interpersonal interactions shape worker productivity, with a specific focus on interactions involving demographic diversity. A third strand of work considers the impacts of trade on the nature of work. With Neil Lee and Katy Morris, he won the Understanding Society Paper Prize for a study of Brexit and internal migration. For his work on local social networks, he was awarded the 2016 Urban Land Institute Prize, awarded for the best paper published in the Journal of Economic Geography. In 2015, his book The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles, co-authored with Michael Storper, Taner Osman and Naji Makarem, was published by Stanford University Press.



More about Tom Kemeny

Wednesday 23 February - CASA Seminar Series: Philippa Wood

About the talk

As a CASA alumna I will be outlining the journey from 'Proposal to Product'. How to make something of your dissertation!

Philippa Wood is Principal Spatial Data Scientist at WSP.

About the Speaker

Philippa Wood at WSP

Philippa was a CASA Spatial Data Science & Visualisation Master's student in 2018-2020. Her dissertation has lead to the development of SILA - a Strategic Investment Location Analysis solution - that uses Machine Learning as an alternative to Multiple Criteria Analysis (MCA).

Her spatial data career has spanned 8.5 years from GIS Analyst through to Principal Spatial Data Scientist while specialising in Transport & Development planning consultancy at WSP.


More about Philippa Wood

Wednesday 9 March - CASA Seminar Series: Clémentine Cottineau, TU-Delft

Clémentine is an urban geographer whose research focuses on understanding and modelling the evolution of economic inequality between and within cities, using longitudinal analysis of empirical microdata and generative agent-based modelling. She is also interested in the history of urban models, the spatial structure of firms and urbanisation in the post-Soviet space. She holds a PhD from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and worked as a researcher at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and CNRS’s Centre Maurice Halbwachs before joining TU-Delft as an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies. She values and promotes interdisciplinary and open research through her scientific collaborations, teaching and editorial involvement.



About the Speaker

Clémentine Cottineau at TU-Delft

More about Clémentine Cottineau

Wednesday 16 March - CASA Seminar Series: Agnieszka Leszczynski, University of Western Ontario

Urban platform visualities: Aesthetics, desire, communication

In this talk, I engage with platform materialities – by which I mean the observable, physical forms that platforms assume in the urban built environment – and the significance of our quotidian visual encounters with these phenomena in cities. Drawing on a range of empirical instances from North American cities, I situate and trace urban platform visualities in three registers: aesthetics, desire, and communication. Docked bikesharing infrastructure in Vancouver comprises a serialized aesthetics increasingly co-implicated with the aesthetics of gentrification at the microgeographic, or sub-neighbourhood, scale of the city. What would appear to be an incorrectly placed shared e-bike sited above a tent encampment in San Jose brings into relief conditioned desires for orderly cityscapes of platformized micromobility – and desires for the intended subjects of urban platformization – while also opening onto possibilities for their interruption. And two additional instances from Vancouver – signs indicating reserved parking for mobility platform vehicles, and stickers advertising the availability of on-demand meal delivery on a restaurant front – materially communicate the conditions of platform urbanism along axes of changing spatial and social relations in the city. I discuss this visual-material perspective nuances our understandings of the co-generative dynamics of platforms and cities by foregrounding how platforms materially make place, claim space, and mediate socio-spatial relations in urban environments.

About the speaker

Agnieszka Leszczynski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at Western University in Canada. Her work focuses on digital geographies, digital platforms and cities, and geolocation. She is one of the editors of Environment and Planning F, and a former co-editor of Big Data & Society.


More about Agnieszka Leszczynski

Wednesday 11 May - CASA Seminar Series: Scott Cain, RunFriendly / Active Things

About the speaker - links




About the Speaker

Scott Cain at Run Friendly

More about Scott Cain