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Image Credit: The Emergent City. A Life From Complexity to The City of Bits. By Stanza

About the Atelier

Computational methods explore soft (social/difficult to define) and hard (technological/clearly spatial) urban systems and potentials beyond the realm of static design methods and theory. Temporal and dynamic processes define spatial design parameters and material flows.

CPU currently collaborates with the EmTech course at the Architectural Association London.

Potential Programme Content (2017)

Our research is transdisciplinary (Architecture, Urbanism, Social Science, Computer Science, Planning, Physics, Genetics, etc.) and currently spans design of Future Cities, urban/big data analysis, Smart Cities, the Internet of Things, agile governance and cities as complex adaptive systems. CPU currently undertakes funded research on:

  • ESRC Strategic Network DACAS: Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (UK, Japan, China, Brazil)
  • Innovate UK Internet of Things (IoT) CityVerve: Sustainable Transport Choices & ICT
  • H2020 Synchronicity: Agile Urban Governance
  • Innovate UK CCAV 2 Autonomous Vehicles Project Synergy: Testing Autonomous Vehicles in Manchester.

International Links

CPU undertakes annual study trips (typically part-funded by industrial partners) for exchanges with global leaders in research, academia and industry. In 2016 we visited San Francisco and L.A. With notable exchanges with UCLA, Berkeley, CCA, SCI-Arc, Gensler, Morphosis Architects, ESRI, Google etc. In 2017 we are visiting Tokyo in June 2017.

Partner organizations and practices

  • Architectural Association London
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Tokyo
  • United Nations University, Tokyo
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Wuhan
  • University of Sao Paulo
  • Gensler
  • Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • Softgrid Limited
  • Manchester City Council (multiple departments)
  • TfGM
  • AGMA


  • Cities as flows, Cities of Flows – Batty
  • Complex Adaptive Systems – Holland
  • Defining the Urban: Interdisciplinary and Professional Perspectives – Iossifova
  • Engineering Vs. Ecological Resilience – Holling
  • Field Conditions – S. Allen
  • Genetic Algorithms and Machine Learning – Holland
  • Intelligent Cities and the Taxonomy of Cognitive Scales – Weinstock
  • Self-Organisation – P. Allen
  • Soft Systems Methodology – Checkland
  • Synergetics – Haken
  • The Origins of Complexity Theory in Cities – Batty & Marshall
  • Wicked Problems – Rittel
  • The Nature of Code – Shiffman
  • Rhino.Python 101



Atelier Staff

Ulysses Sengupta
Senior Lecturer

Deljana Iossifova
Lecturer in Urban Studies

Rob Hyde
Principal Lecturer

Eric Cheung