17 MAR 2022 (THU) 19:00-20:30

Updated: 4 days ago

HKU-USF Distinguished Professor Webinar Series

Under the leadership of Vice-President (Academic Development) Professor Peng Gong, The University of Hong Kong will launch the Distinguished Professor Webinar Series organized by the Urban System Forum (HKU-USF). The HKU-USF Distinguished Professor Webinar Series will feature presentations to be delivered by outstanding urban scientists and theorists around the globe. It aims to inspire cross-disciplinary research and nurture future leaders in urban systems research at different scales and from various perspectives. Please note that the third event of HKU-USF Distinguished Professor Webinar Series will be held via Zoom on 17 March, 2022 (Thursday), 19:00 p.m HKT.

Date: 17 March 2022 (Thursday)

Time: 19:00-20:30 (HKT)

Zoom ID: 970 7705 0979 Please be ready 5 minutes prior to the scheduled time.



Urban mobility: using mathematical models to predict where and how often we go

Understanding the patterns underlying human mobility in urban areas is essential to better plan cities, engineering traffic, and mitigating diseases. However, existing studies have characterized only some spatial features of mobility — such as travel distance — overlooking an important temporal feature: how frequently do we visit a particular place? And, how is this visitation frequency related to the distance we traveled? Modeling the interplay between spatial and temporal features of mobility is critical; for instance, it can provide urban planners with the information to best place a shopping mall to attract customers. The analysis of over 8 billion human mobility traces collected over four continents reveal that humans have a natural tendency of trading off travel distance with frequency: the further we travel, the less frequently we do it, according to a “visitation law” that can be described through a simple mathematical law. We will then show how this striking discovery can be used to better locate businesses and facilities in urban spaces, and find more effective containment strategies for disease spreading.


Dr Paolo Santi

Principal Research Scientist at MIT Senseable City Lab

Paolo Santi is Principal Research Scientist at MIT Senseable City Lab where he leads the MIT/Fraunhofer Ambient Mobility initiative, and a Research Director at the Istituto di Informatica e Telematica, CNR, Pisa. Dr. Santi holds a “Laurea” degree and the PhD in computer science from the University of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Santi is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and has recently been recognized as Distinguished Scientist by the Association for Computing Machinery. His research interest is in the modeling and analysis of complex systems ranging from wireless multi hop networks to sensor and vehicular networks and, more recently, smart mobility and intelligent transportation systems. In these fields, he has contributed more than 170 scientific papers and two books.