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- Professor of Urban Regional Systems
- Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
- Faculty of the Built Environment
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 GO-Science Foresight Project on the Future of Cities. He 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. 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, and a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society. He was knighted in 2001. His recent books include Knowledge power, published in 2010, The science of cities and regions and his five volume (edited) Urban modelling, both in 2013. Explorations in urban and regional dynamics: a case study in complexity science (with Joel Dearden) will be published by Routledge in 2015.
Many aspects of mathematical modelling and the use of models in planning in relation to all aspects of cities and regions - including demography, economic input-output modelling, transport and locational structures. These techniques are now in common use internationally – including the use of the concept of entropy in building spatial interaction models – summarised in Entropy in urban and regional modelling (re-issued in 2011). These models have been widely used in areas such as transport planning, demography and economic modelling. More recently, the applications of dynamical systems theory in relation to modelling the evolution of urban structure. This led to the laying of the foundations of a comprehensive theory of urban dynamics described in Complex spatial systems. He is currently PI on a £2.5M EPSRC project on global dynamics.
For more information on research activities, please follow the link to his web page.
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).
|2006 – 2007||Master||Corpus Christi College||Cambridge, United Kingdom|
|2004 – 2006||Director-General of Higher Education||DfES, United Kingdom|
|2000 – 2004||Member||Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom|
|2000 – 2003||Chairman||Board of the Worldwide Universities Network, United Kingdom|
|1999 – 1999||Group member||Biotechnology Cluster Group||Department for Trade and Industry, United Kingdom|
|1998 – 2002||Chair||Research Policy Group||Universities UK, United Kingdom|
|1996 – 2002||Board member||Board of Universities UK||Universities UK, United Kingdom|
|1994 – 2000||Chair||Advisory Committee on Document Supply||British Library, United Kingdom|
|1994 – 1996||Member||Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, United Kingdom|
|1993 – 1994||Chairman||Complaints Review Committee||NHS, United Kingdom|
|1991 – 1993||Chairman||Leeds Schools' Commission, United Kingdom|
|1991 – 2004||Vice-Chancellor||University of Leeds, United Kingdom|
|1986 – 1988||Vice-Chairman||Environment and Planning Committee||Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom|
|1982 – 1985||Vice-Chairman||Dewsbury Health Authority||NHS, United Kingdom|
|1979 – 1982||Member||Kirklees Area Health Authority||NHS, United Kingdom|
|1970 – 2004||Professor of Urban and Regional Geography||University of Leeds, United Kingdom|
|1968 – 1970||Assistant Director||Centre for Environmental Studies||London, United Kingdom|
|1966 – 1967||Head of the Mathematical Advisory Group||Ministry of Transport, United Kingdom|
|1964 – 1966||Research Officer||Institute of Economics & Statistics||Oxford University, United Kingdom|
|1961 – 1964||Scientific Officer||Theoretical Physics Group||Rutherford Laboratory, United Kingdom|
|1966||MA||Master of Arts||University of Cambridge|
|1960||BA||Bachelor of Arts||University of Cambridge|