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Thu, 13 Jun


The University of Hong Kong

Fractal Cities: Nature vs Nurture

Speaker: Prof. Elsa Arcaute Registration:

Fractal Cities: Nature vs Nurture
Fractal Cities: Nature vs Nurture

Time & Location

13 Jun 2024, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm HKT

The University of Hong Kong, Room 419, 4/F, Knowles Building, HKU

About the event

Abstract: In this talk, we will explore the compelling field of complexity science to gain insights into cities. Complexity science teaches us that "more is different," meaning that interacting parts, such as people, give rise to new and unexpected properties. Despite cities often being seen as the opposite of nature, we will discover that they actually share many similar processes with natural systems.

We will explore fascinating connections, such as how the structure of leaves can help us understand the layout of cities, how urban footprints left over thousands of years resemble the organization of the brain, and whether there is a collective urban memory that influences socio-economic trends like inequality. Additionally, we will question whether these resemblances are the outcome of our fractal nature.

This talk aims to unravel the complex dynamics of cities and uncover the surprising parallels between urban systems and the natural world. Can these insights help us build more sustainable cities?

About the Speaker:

Elsa Arcaute is a Professor of Complexity Science at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, a fellow and university team lead of the Alan Turing Institute (UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence) and an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong. She holds a master’s and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. Her research expertise lies in modelling and analysing urban systems and processes from the perspective of complexity science, making use of methods from physics and network science within a multidisciplinary framework. Before joining UCL more than a decade ago, she developed research within the Complexity and Networks group at Imperial College, on processes of self-organisation in ant-colonies and social systems in general.

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