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School of Geography

Alison Heppenstall Professor Alison Heppenstall

Contact details

Room Manton 10.115
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


0113 343-3361

Student hours:
Please note that I do not work on Wednesday's.

Research overview

Research interests

For uptodate research information, please see my personal webpage: 

  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in geography.
  • Machine Learning and Evolutionary algorithms
  • Agent-based modelling.
  • Big Data analytics
  • Development of tools for identifying chaotic behaviour and social networks within complex systems.
  • Methods for visualisation of hidden spatial structures in dynamic data sets.
  • Complexity; identification/modelling of and manipulation in geographical systems.
  • Neuroevolutionary tools (application to flood forecasting).
  • Development of SI-Models.
  • Geostatistics.
  • Retail modelling.

PhD Supervision

I would be interested in supervising PhDs on topics such as:

  • Geocomputation, specifically agent-based modelling
  • Big Data analytics, Machine Learning
  • Smart Cities
  • Cellular automata modelling, evolutionary algorithms, advanced spatial analysis and GIS

I am particularly interested in supervising students who would like to link these methods together for solving geographical problems and are interested in building behaviour into models.  Areas that I currently work/supervise students within are:

  • Crime 
  • Retail (spatial economics)
  • Health
  • Urban (city) development
  • Education

However, I would also be interested in hearing from students who wish to develop the above methods for other areas.

Current PhD students

  • U. Al Guada: (Overseas funding) 2014 -  Using community cohesion to link crime analysis
  • L. Xiang: (Chinese Scholarship) 2015 - Socio-inequalities in the provision of education in Beijing.
  • Kellyn Arnold (ESRC-AQM) 2016 - Causal Inference Modelling and ABM
  • Yuanxuan Yang (CSC) 2016 - Understanding bike mobility through Big Data
  • Verity Tether (ESRC-AQM) 2017 - Crime and Agent-based modelling
  • Sarah Gadd (ESRC - AQM) 2017 Longitudinal data
  • Kim Butterfield (ESRC Collab) 2017 Retail consumer behaviour modelling 

Past PhD Students

  • Khalid Al-Ahmadi: (Overseas Funding) 2004 - 2007. A Fuzzy Cellular Automata Urban Growth Model for the city of Riyadh, Saudia Arabia. Winner of the ESRI "Oscar" 2009.
  • Nick Malleson: (ESRC funded) 2006 - 2010.  Agent-Based Modelling of Crime. Winner: Best RGS paper.
  • Dan Olner:(ESRC 1+3 Studentship) 2006 - . Transition in Food Networks: Modelling Adaptive Landscapes.
  • Luke Burns: (ESRC 1+3) 2008 -2011 Microsimulation and geodemographic classification
  • Jing Ma: (Chinese Funding) 2011 - 2014 Carbon emission modelling in Beijing
  • Stephen Clarke: (TALISMAN) 2012 - 2015 Microsimulation and health
  • Nawaf ALotaibi: (Overseas funding)2013 - 2017  Advanced spatial analysis of MVT crime in Saudi Arabia
  • S. Picasco: 2012 -2017  ABM of gentrification



No information at present.