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Prof chris
Professor WEBSTER, Chris

Dean of Faculty of Architecture
Chair Professor in Urban Planning and Development Economics
The University of Hong Kong (852) 5492 9226
  Dean’s Office, Faculty of Architecture, 4/F, Knowles Building

About Me

Professor Chris Webster trained in urban planning, computer science, economics and economic geography and is a leading urban theorist and spatial economic modeller. He first studied Artificial Intelligence when taking a MSc in the Department of Computing Mathematics, Cardiff University in the late 1980s, writing a thesis on predicate-calculus based programming languages. Before that, his PhD research developed multi-time period linear programming models to convince the World Bank and the Thai Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives that Thailand’s poor farmers in the resource-scarce North Eastern provinces were constrained by production credit availability not by land or labour. As well as optimisation modelling, he has published urban and land research using cellular automata simulation, econometrics, urban remote sensing, spatial epidemiological models, decision-science models, computer vision, machine learning and computational general equilibrium models. He is Dean of HKU Faculty of Architecture and Chair Professor in Urban Planning and Development Economics in HKU’s Department of Urban Planning and Design. In 2014 he founded HKUrbanLabs as an incubation platform for novel interdisciplinary research across the Faculty of Architecture’s built environment departments and divisions and beyond. He is Senior Departmental Fellow at Cambridge University’s Department of Land Economy, and Honorary Professor at University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). He has published over 250 scholarly papers, book chapters and books on the idea of spontaneous urban order and received over US$25M grants for research and teaching and learning projects. For ten years he co-edited with Mike Batty, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (now renamed Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science to better reflect the journal’s leading position in quantitative urban systems theory and research). Professor Webster has sixteen prize-winning academic papers on urban theory and is co-inventor of the prize-winning urban network analysis software sDNA.

Research Interests
Smart Cities; Urban Economic Modelling; Urban Simulation; Self-organising Systems; Urban Systems Modelling