The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Digital Task Force for Planning formed by Michael Batty & Wei Yang

18 May 2021

An Independent Expert Panel – the Digital Task Force for Planning has been formed by Michael Batty and Wei Yang


An independent expert panel – the Digital Task Force for Planning has been formed by a group of influential thought leaders across a broad spectrum relating to planning and digital technology. 

The Task Force is chaired by Professor Michael Batty, Chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) in The Bartlett faculty at University College London (UCL). Dr Wei Yang, the Royal Town Planning Institute President for 2021 is the Co-chair.
The mission of the Task Force is to promote an integrated digitally informed approach of Town & Country Planning.  The Task Force will examine how the planning profession and its education can embrace the digital revolution in a more thorough and proactive way to empower planners with new skills to tackle the grand challenges of our times for public interest. To raise the awareness, identify the needs, and urge actions, the Task Force aims to deliver a ROADMAP for the future of planning in the digital domain within an initial one-year timescale.

Members of the Task Force are: 
•    Chair: Michael Batty CBE FRS FBA FAcSS FRTPI, Bartlett Professor of Planning, University College London, and Chair, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis.
•    Co-chair: Wei Yang FAcSS FRTPI, President for 2021, The Royal Town Planning Institute, and Chair, Wei Yang & Partners.
•    Sir Alan Wilson FRS FBA FAcSS, Director of Special Projects, The Alan Turing Institute, and Honorary Professor, University College London.
•    Janice Morphet FAcSS FRTPI, Visiting Professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London.
•    Bridget Rosewell CBE FAcSS FICE, Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission, and Chair of the Independent Review into Planning Appeal Inquiries.
•    Cecilia Wong FAcSS FRTPI, Professor of Spatial Planning and Director of the Spatial Policy & Analysis Lab at the University of Manchester, Chair of the UK2021 Research Excellent Framework’s ‘Architecture, Built Environment and Planning’ sub-panel.
•    Kirsty Macari MRTPI AoU, Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Dundee, Member of the RTPI General Assembly, Scottish Executive Committee.
•    Mark Tewdwr-Jones FAcSS FRTPI, Bartlett Professor of Cities and Regions, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London.
•    Volker Buscher, Director, Chief Data Officer, ARUP. Member of the Smart London Board and the Smart Cities Forum.
•    Jeremy Morley, Chief Geospatial Scientist, Ordnance Survey.

Professor Michael Batty CBE FRS FBA FAcSS FRTPI, Chair of the Task Force and the RTPI 2016 Gold Medallist, said: “Computers are universal machines and can be used in all areas of social and scientific decision-making. The planning profession needs to engage deeply with new digital technologies that are changing not only how we think about our cities and regions and their futures but also how computers themselves are changing the very cities that we wish to plan for through automation.  “The mission of the digital taskforce is to raise awareness, promote new skills, and ensure greater urban sustainability in the digital age.”

Dr Wei Yang FAcSS FRTPI, Co-chair of the Task Force and the RTPI 2021 President, said: “The world needs a modernised, strengthened planning profession able to proactively address the challenges of the 21st century.  “Clearly the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the profession.  At this crucial turning point, we need to examine some fundamental questions – How can the digital technology and the use of data empower a better evidence-based plan-making and place-making process? What are the skills we need? and How to unlock the full potential of the planning profession in the digital era? “We look forward to speaking with a broad range of stakeholders to draw up a roadmap for the future of the planning profession.”

Further information about the Task Force and its members can be found at www.digital4planning.com.

You can also read more at The Planner: https://www.theplanner.co.uk/news/task-force-launched-for-digital-planning

Contact email: digital4planning@gmail.com

About the chairs:
•    Professor Michael Batty CBE FRS FBA FAcSS FRTPI is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London where he is Chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). 
Mike has worked on computer models of cities and their visualisation since the 1970s and his most recent publications The New Science of Cities (MIT Press, 2013), Inventing Future Cities (MIT Press, 2018), and the edited volume Urban Informatics (Springer 2021) reflect this focus on the applications of digital technologies to urban planning. He has been the editor of Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, since 1982. Mike is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the Royal Society (FRS), the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). He was awarded the CBE in the Birthday Honours List in 2004. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (2015) and the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute (2016). 

•    Dr Wei Yang FAcSS FRTPI is President of the Royal Town Planning Institute for 2021.
She is a lead figure in researching, promoting, and implementing 21st Century Garden City approach, which captures the essence of the original Garden City ideas, but adapts them to a more complex, 21st century context, promoting sustainability, tackling climate change and utilising smart technologies. Wei is the Founder of Wei Yang & Partners, an award-winning master planning firm in London. She has extensive experience in managing multi-disciplinary teams. Wei is a Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences, an Independent Trustee of the Landscape Institute, a Board Member of the British Library, and a Board Trustee of Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre. Wei is the Global Planners Network (GPN)’s representative at UN Habitat Professional Forum.