Mechanicity is a research programme at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (part of University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning) aimed at investigating the changing shape of cities, exploring how they use energy, and modelling their impact upon the environment. It was funded as a European Research Council Advanced Award and ran from July 2010 to June 2015.

Urban Scaling

Understanding the role of city size in the urban system as a whole, its correlations with urban measures, and emergent agglomeration effects.

Percolation and Urban Morphology

Developing methodologies to define cities in a consistent way, from density thresholds to percolation theory. We look at the emergent hierarchical properties of countries, and at the fractal nature of cities.

Entropy and the Physics of Cities

Determining land use and settlement change through spatial interaction.


Understanding the properties and performance of urban systems through the underlying structures of their physical infrastructure and social networks.

Generative Modelling

Agent Based Modelling and other techniques to model patterns of individual and collective behaviour.

LUTi Modelling

Land-Use/Transportation Interaction (LUTi) modelling to explore the symbiotic relationships between transportation and land-use.

Recent Posts

The New Science of Cities, by Mike Batty

In this book, I suggest that to understand cities we must view them not simply as places in space but as systems of networks and flows. To understand space, we must understand flows, and to understand flows, we must understand networks—the relations between objects that comprise the system of the city. Drawing on the complexity … Continued

Cities, Brains, Percolation

At ECCS ’13 this morning, Elsa Arcaute, Lecturer in Urban Modelling in CASA, is talking about our work on city size using percolation theory which has analogies to Hernan Makse’s work on percolation and the brain. Click here for the programme and the paper in the Arxiv on which is it based. You can also … Continued

Gravity v Radiation Models

For many years, almost from the time when Newton first presented his laws of gravitation, speculations and applications of the gravity model to human interactions have been made. In the 19th century, Carey and Ravenstein led the way with Reilly, Zipf, Stewart and Warntz and then Voorhees making major contributions in the early to mid … Continued