The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Professor Sir Alan Wilson

Professor Sir Alan Wilson

Honorary Professor

Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2019

Research summary

Alan was responsible for the introduction of a number of model building techniques which are now in common use internationally – such as the use of ‘entropy’ in building spatial interaction models – summarised in Entropy in urban and regional modelling. He rigorously deployed accounts’ concepts in demography and economic modelling and is now working with dynamical systems theory to model the evolution of urban structure.  His current research, supported by ESRC and EPSRC grants, is on the evolution of cities and the dynamics of global trade, migration, security and development aid. 

For more information on research activities, please follow the link to his web page. 


Teaching summary

Interdisciplinary research methods (see Knowledge Power published by Routledge in 2010); principles of model building (see The Science of Cities and Regions, published by Springer, in 2012).


University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1966
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1960


Sir Alan Wilson FBA, FAcSS, FRS is Professor of Urban and Regional Systems in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. He is Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council and of the Lead Expert Group for the Government Office for Science Foresight Project on The Future of Cities. He writes the weekly Quaestio blog on research and interdisciplinarity.

He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1991 to 2004 when he became Director-General for Higher Education in the then DfES. From 2007-2013 he was Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is a Member of Academia Europaea, an FBA, an FAcSS and an FRS. He was knighted in 2001. His recent books include Knowledge power (2010), The science of cities and regions (2012), his five volume (edited) Urban modelling (2012) and (with Joel Dearden) Explorations in urban and regional dynamics (2015).