Skip to main content
Dr Crispin Cooper

Dr Crispin Cooper

Research Fellow

School of Geography and Planning

+44(0) 29 2087 6072
1.07, 33 Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3BA
Available for postgraduate supervision


Dr Crispin Cooper is a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Places Research Institute. His research track record encompasses both data science theory, and its application to support a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable world. His software sDNA (Spatial Design Network Analysis) is used by thousands of academics and practitioners worldwide. Crispin has used sDNA himself to investigate health, pollution, accessibility, community cohesion, carbon footprinting and economic geography. Currently he is focusing on modelling pedestrian and cyclist mode choice and flows for sustainable transport and health, and the use of well-being metrics to improve outcomes.

Crispin works with numerous external partners to deliver impact from his research, in particular engineering consultancies Arup Group Ltd and Wedderburn Transport Planning, and sustainable transport charity Sustrans. He is Data Science Theme Deputy for Cardiff University's strategic partnership with the Office for National Statistics.


Research Fellow, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University 2019-present

Research Associate, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University 2011-2019

Postdoctoral Research Associate, City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University 2010

PhD City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University 2006-2010

Development Volunteer, Uganda 2006

Software Engineer, Cambridge Silicon Radio, 2006

Research Associate, Department of Electronics, University of York 2003-2005

MA (hons) Computer Science and Physics, University of Cambridge 1999-2002

Professional memberships

AFHEA 2019

Speaking engagements

Invited presentations

2020: Institute for Public Policy Research. South Wales Valleys Climate Fairness Panel

2020: University of Lisbon. Cycling Potential Hackathon

2020: Leeds Institute for Transport Studies. Active Transport Options for New Developments Workshop. Spatial network analysis approaches for walkability

2019: Office for National Statistics Data Science Campus. Some applications for Spatial Network Analysis: transport, accessibility, health, communities, economics and classification of regions

2018: Leeds Institute for Transport Studies. Network modelling to target cycling and walking policies

2017: Business Council for Sustainable Development. Spatial Network Analysis, Smarter Walking and Cycling & the Role of the Private Sector

2017: Green Gathering Festival. How Infrastructure Helps Bicycles Take Off

2017: Bristol Data Science Meetup. Spatial Network Analysis

2016: Welsh Assembly Government. Modelling cyclist behaviour based on Welsh Active Travel data

2016: Free & Open Source Software for Geospatial (Foss4G) Cymru. The sDNA toolbox for QGIS

2016: Association for Geographical Information. GeoBig5. Network Analysis for Health, Environment and Economics, the Big Data way

2014: Hay Festival of Literature & Arts. Panel discussion on ecological footprint of the festival

2012: iBEE Innovation in the Built Environment. Introducing the sDNA software

Committees and reviewing

Data Science Theme Deputy for the Cardiff University & Office for National Statistics strategic partnership.

Reviewer for Transportation Research, Int. Jnl Geographic Information Systems, Jnl American Planning Assoc., Urban Studies, PeerJ, Jnl Transport & Health, Int. Jnl. Sustainable Transportation
















Crispin currently teaches Modern Web Application development on the BSc Computer Science course, and guest lectures in sustainable transport modelling for the MSc Transport & Planning.

He has previously taught in the Research Masterclass, and Sustainability Science Summer School, and run teaching laboratory sessions at the Cardiff School of Computer Science and Informatics and University of York Department of Electronics; including comparative programming languages seminars, Java, DSP and microcontrollers.

Crispin is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2020).

Broadly speaking I am interested in both data science theory, and its application to support a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable world. For a while I have focussed on models of transport, and found that to really understand transport we need to understand the rest of society too - from politics and land use to health and well-being - so my models are always building outwards from that starting point.

My research background was initially in Computer Science; working for the Intelligent Systems group at the University of York I helped to develop microchips capable of evolution, growth, self-repair and learning. I also spent time in commercial research & development, as part of a team creating bluetooth firmware which was able to link to the first iPhone back in 2006.

Having a long-term interest in sustainable development, I worked as a project volunteer in Uganda during 2006.

My PhD was completed at Cardiff University's School of Geography and Planning (formerly City and Regional Planning), using high performance computing to visualise and model large quantities of housing market socioeconomic data collected from the UK census and Land Registry.  This was funded by a Richard Whipp studentship.

My network analysis software sDNA is used by over 2000 researchers and practitioners worldwide, particularly for planning sustainable transport networks, and was subject of a REF Impact case study in 2014. As of 2021 this is my main research focus, alongside use of well-being metrics to improve outcomes.

As of early 2021, I have contributed to to approx. £540,000 of successful funding bids:

2021:         PI, Sustrans, Modelling Monmouthshire Active Travel Networks PartII

2020:        PI, Sustrans, Modelling Monmouthshire Active Travel Networks

2020:         PI, 3d Urban Design workflows with sDNA

2020:         PI, Gamification of data collection on political meta-views, network analysis of social media bubbles and predictors of COVID19 behaviour

2019:         PI, Wedderburn Transport Planning & Design Economics, sDNA enhancements for pedestrian models

2017:         Co-I, Welsh Government, Data-Defined Regions for the National Development Framework

2016:         Co-I, Data Innovation Institute Seedcorn, Improving pedestrian data modelling for a more vibrant high street. Resulting in the first longitudinal forecast test for a strategic pedestrian model thus providing peer reviewed scientific evidence to support ongoing use of sDNA+ in pedestrian models

2015:         Co-I, ESRC Impact Accelerator, “sDNA for All” (Spatial Network Analysis for active travel, with Arup, WSP, BuroHappold, Wedderburn Transport Planning, Sustrans. Identifying and addressing barriers to uptake of sDNA in sustainable transport modelling. As a result, partners now make use of sDNA+ to deliver pedestrian and cycling analysis to clients

2015:         PI, Evaluation of population catchments, Canal & Rivers Trust

2004:         Initiated and wrote core contribution to Intelligent Systems (Evolvable Hardware) proposal funded by EPSRC


I am interested in supervising PhD students with an interest in quantitative modelling of social & economic systems, especially transport. Suitable students may have a background in the application domain e.g. geography, transport planning or alternatively come from a STEM discipline such as computer science or statistics.

I am also open to supervising MSc Computer Science & Data Science dissertations within my field of expertise. I believe strongly in learning by doing, therefore, for projects that produce good results I aim to co-publish research with students - we have done this for several previous projects e.g.