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Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex SystemsFrom Theory to Planning Applications$
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Roger White, Guy Engelen, and Inge Uljee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029568

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029568.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex Systems

Roger White

Guy Engelen

Inge Uljee

The MIT Press

The fundamental premise of the book is that cities and regions are complex, self-organizing, adaptive systems, and that they are therefore best understood by focussing on the processes by which they grow and structure themselves. The approach is thus algorithmic, using cellular automata (CA) based models, and emphasizes spatial structure as it appears in land use, population distribution, and economic activity, since cities function by virtue of that structure. Studies of urban form by architects and urban historians have tended to emphasize street patterns, and emerging from these studies is an opposition between planned and “organic” forms. Organic forms are the signature of self-organized systems, and they emerge naturally from the models described in this book. The models integrate the city with its region, and socio-economic with natural phenomena. They also raise fundamental issues in the methodology and philosophy of science.

Keywords:   Self-organizing system, Cellular automata, Spatial structure, Urban form

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