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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

Studying at Cambridge


Dr. Elisabete A Silva

Dr. Elisabete A Silva

Professor (Oct. 2020) - Spatial Planning

Director of the M.Phil "Planning Growth and Regeneration"

Director of the Lab of Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis (LISA Lab)

Data Champion

Office Phone: (01223) 337141


Dr Elisabete A. Silva is a University Professor (Oct. 2020) in Spatial Planning in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.  Dr. Silva started working in Cambridge as a University Lecturer - Assistant Professor (2006-2012), was Tenured (2009), Senior Lecturer - Associate Professor (2012-2017), Reader-Professor in Spatial Planning (2017-2020), Full Professor (from October 2020).

She lectures and is the course coordinator of: in "Urban and Environmental Planning I" (PGR01), "Planning Policy and Practice" (Paper 14); Spatial Analysis and Modelling (RM03);    She was the Director of the PhD Programme (2008-2015);  she  is now  Director of the M.Phil  "Planning Growth and Regeneration"

Director of Lab of Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis  (LISA Lab):

Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI)

Data Champion


Editorial Board member:

Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS)

Planning Theory & Practice ; 

Sustainable Development;

Journal of Urban Afairs


Subject groups/Research projects

Lab of Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis:

Research Interests

Dr. Silva is a British-Portuguese dual citizen and she has a research track record of 25+ years, both at the public and private sector and specialized in spatial analysis and planning. Her research interests are centred on the application of new technologies to spatial planning in particular city and metropolitan dynamic modelling through time. Subject areas include:  Land Use, Transportation, Spatial Analysis, Data Science & Big Data, Complexity Theory, Smart/Digital Cities, Geographic Information Systems and Planning Support Systems; Space-time dynamic models, Computation and Dynamic Simulation - soft Artificial Intelligence, AI Models (particularly ABM and CA models).

For new PhD applicants: Dr Silva only considers applications that include GIS, CA/ABM or new technology in a spatial planning context (when required, all applicants need to submit English exam results with the application). Please, don't submit an application  without first  having a phone/skype interview with Dr. Silva in order to discuss the research proposal.

Due to the low numbers of female researchers in the areas of computation models and methods applied to Spatial Analysis, Dr. Silva strongly encourages female applicants, in particular, females from Africa, South America, India and the Middle East.


Current Research Associates and Ph.D. students: Dr. José Pedro Reis, Dr. Chaowei Xiao,  Mr. Haifeng Niu, Miss Heeseo Rain Kwon, Miss Yiqiao Chen, Mr. Stephen Ajadi, Ms. Ica Fernandez, Mr. Abid Rehman, Mr. Jingxin Nie


Sustainability ; Public Policy ; Modelling

Key Publications


  • 2010 A Planner’s Encounter with Complexity, (with G. de Roo) Ashgate Publishers Ltd, Aldershot (UK). 337 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4094-0265-7. 
  • 2003 1st Conference of the Land Management Engineering: Plan-Change-Manage (With J. Ferreira, JB e Silva, E.A. Silva and  J. M. Esteves) (in Portuguese) . Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) & Núcleo de Estudos dos alunos de Território (NET), Lisboa. 43 pages ISBN: 972-8152-76-0




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