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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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Issues of Calibration, Validation, and Methodology

Issues of Calibration, Validation, and Methodology

(p.213) 9 Issues of Calibration, Validation, and Methodology
Modeling Cities and Regions As Complex Systems

Roger White

Guy Engelen

Inge Uljee

The MIT Press

Models of far from equilibrium thermodynamic systems such as cities, unlike those of classical systems, pose not only practical difficulties of calibration and validation, but also fundamental problems linked to the fact that the systems have open futures, so that any appropriate model must predict both possible futures, while only one will be observed. The models, like the systems, are only quasi-predictable. Overcalibration is likely because any single calibration procedure will aim for the observed outcome rather than both the observed and unobserved. Validation tests are indeterminate for the same reason. At present the most useful approach for minimizing these difficulties is multiplicity: use of multi-criteria, multi-objective tests in a multiplicity of similar applications. The more phenomena a single model can predict, the more Popperian riskiness it enjoys, and the more confidence it earns when those predictions are correct. The need for detailed tests involving map comparisons has led to the development of new techniques like fuzzy kappa and measures based on polygons and wavelet analysis, while the methodological problems are driving the emergence of a new philosophy of science.

Keywords:   Open futures, Calibration, Overcalibration, Validation, Multiplicity, Methodology, Popperian riskiness, Philosophy of science

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