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Andy Chia-An Ku BSc MSc

Andy Chia-An Ku BSc MSc

PhD Candidate

My research focuses on integrating agent-based land-use modelling and flood modelling for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use based flood management strategies in urban environment.


I got my first degree in geography from National Taiwan University, where I spent most of the time studying the combination of remote-sensing and GIS techniques for evaluating the impervious surface area in Taipei City. Because of my strong interest in understanding the relationship between human behaviour and urban environment, I decided to pursue a Masters degree in urban planning, which focused on simulating the impacts of extreme floods on land-use patterns, based on a Markovian cellular automata model in Taipei City.

After graduation, I started to focus more on agent-based models and assisted in the construction of a simulation framework for a land-use modelling project funded by National Science Council of Taiwan. I had also worked as a full-time urban planner in an engineering consulting firm where I was in charge of the land-use planning for the Mass Rapid Transit system in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. Afterwards, I was awarded a 3-year Taiwanese government scholarship in the field of disaster management. In my PhD study, I will combine my previous experiences in urban planning and modelling in order to construct an integrated framework for evaluating the effectiveness of land-use based flood management strategies, which aims at reducing the flood risks in the future.


  • PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. (2012-present)
  • MSc in Urban Planning, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. (2008-2010)
  • BSc in Geography, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. (2003-2008)


  • Urban planner, Metropolitan Engineering Consultants Co. Ltd., Taipei, Taiwan. (2012)
  • Planner, Institute for Physical Planning & Information, Taiwan. (2012)
  • Military police, Ministry of National Defense, Taiwan. (2011- 2012)
  • Research assistant, A Comparison Study of Land Use Change Models on Taipei Metropolitan Area, funded by National Science Council, Taiwan. (2010 –2011)
  • Website developer, Department of Urban planning, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. (2008- 2010)

Awards and scholarships

  • Christopher Bartram Fund Award, Downing College, Cambridge. (2014)
  • Philip Lake Fund, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. (2014)
  • Fieldwork Fund, University of Cambridge.(2013)
  • Philip Lake Fund, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. (2013)
  • Government Fellowship for Studying Abroad, Ministry of Education, Taiwan. (2012-2015)
  • Master Thesis Award, Taiwan Institute of Urban Planning, Taiwan. (2010)
  • Honorary Member of the Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society, Taiwan - Excellence in Academic Achievement. (2010)
  • The Certificate of Honor for Excellence in the Project of Environmental Planning and Urban / Rural Studies, Foundation of Environmental Planning and Urban/ Rural, Taiwan. (2009)


In order to reduce the possible effects of flooding under extreme weather events, relevant strategies have been proposed, based on a risk management perspective, to set up more flexible and effective flood risk reduction methods by risk evaluation and adjustment. Among these strategies, land-use control is increasingly considered one of the most feasible solutions because of its ability to manage the characteristics of flood by altering the conditions of flood occurrence, and thus decreasing the overall damage it might cause in the long run.

Thus, there have increasingly been studies emphasising the influences of land-use changes on flood behaviour. However, these have failed to evaluate land-use based strategies effectively, because of the difficulties in dealing with uncertain spatial and temporal relationships between land-use changes and floods, understanding of which is crucial in helping policy makers to assess the feasibility of proposed flood management methods.

On the other hand, land-use patterns in urban areas can also be influenced by floods, as a result of risk perceptions and the adaptive behaviour of people. Therefore, it is necessary simultaneously to consider these two processes in an integrated framework because of their strong spatial and temporal inter-relationships. My study accordingly aims to develop an integrated simulation framework which is able to capture their dynamic relationship. It will focus on the capital of Taiwan, Taipei City, as a case study: this city has experienced increasing flood events over the past decade, which have caused severe damage.

The objectives of my study are (1) to systematize possible land-use based flood management strategies drawing on case studies and literature review; (2) to simulate possible land-use patterns in the future based on an agent-based model; (3) to model the potential flooded areas and depths of different scenarios by a 2D inundation model; and (4) to quantify the flood exposure and damage resulting from different strategies by depth-damage curves. The results of my research could be a solid reference point for developing the best combination of strategies for managing future flood risk in the study area, which aims at reducing the urban flood risk effectively in the future.


Selected publications:

Journal papers

  • Ku, C. A. Incorporating Spatial Regression into Cellular Automata for Modeling Land Use Change, Chinese Geographical Science. (Accepted)
  • Tsou, K. W. and Ku, C. A. and Kuo, H. F. (2014) Modeling Impacts of Urban Extreme Floods on Land Use Change, Case Study of Taipei City, Taiwan, City and Planning, 41(1):461-483
  • Lin, F. T., Wu, C. H., Ku, C. A., Tseng, W. Y. (2011) The Research on Modeling Land Use and Land Cover Change in Taipei Metropolitan Area- The case study of Xinzhuang and Danshui Districts, National Geographic Information System Quarterly, 77: 62-69

Conference papers

  • Ku, C. A. and Tsou, K. W. (2010) Simulating Impact of Urban Flood on Land Use Pattern based on Markovian Cellular Automata─Case Study of Taipei City, Taiwan, 15th Inter-university seminar on Asian megacities, Japan: Tokyo.
  • Chen, W. L., Ku, C. A. and Chang, H. S. (2010) Incorporating Spatial Regression into Cellular Automata for Modeling Land Use Change─Case Study of Tainan, Taiwan, 15th Inter-university seminar on Asian megacities, Japan: Tokyo.
  • Ku, C. A. and Tsou, K. W. (2009) A Spatial Dynamic Simulation for Urban flood risk adaptation strategies in Taipei, Taiwan, 15th Joint Conference of Institute of Urban planning, Institute of Regional Science and Institute of Local Development, Taiwan: Taiwan.
  • Ku, C. A.and Chang, H. S. (2009) A GIS-based Cellular Automata Method for Evaluating Smart Growth Strategy in Chiayi City, Taiwan, 5th International Conference of Planning and Design, Taiwan: Tainan.


  • Demonstrator, Spatial Data Analysis, Masters Course of SSRMC Module 6.
  • Demonstrator, GIS and Spatial Data Analysis, Part 1B Geography Tripos: Geographical Skills (Undergraduate).
  • Demonstrator, Statistics, Part 1A Geography Tripos: Geographical Skills and Methods (Undergraduate).
  • Lecturer & Courses planner, 2007 GIS Summer Camp, Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

External activities

  • Vice president, Cambridge Taiwanese Society (2013-2014)
  • Cambridge University Water Research Group (2012-present)
  • Cambridge University Agents and Environment Modelling Group (2012-present)
  • The Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honour Society, Taiwan (2010-present)
  • Taiwan Institute of Urban Planning (2009-present)