Living Cities: Urban Development as a Complex System

  • Philip Ball


A United Nations report in 2007 announced that more than half the world’s population now lives in cities. This shift in the balance between urban and rural dwelling is unprecedented in human history, and implies that for most of humankind the future is an urban one. Over the past several decades there has been massive migration of people from the countryside into cities. Partly as a result, there are now many mega-cities with populations of over 10 million, most of which are in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Nearly all the population growth forecast for the next two decades will be based in such cities.


Urban Development Urban Growth City Growth Chicago Metropolitan Area Urban Theorist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Further Reading

  1. H. van Ginkel, ‘Urban future’, Nature 456, 32–33 (2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. B. Hillier, Space is the Machine. Space Syntax, London, 1996.Google Scholar
  3. M. Batty, Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with Cellular Automata, Agent-Based Models, and Fractals. MIT Press, Cambridge, Ma., 2005.Google Scholar
  4. Y. Xie & M. Batty, ‘Integrated Urban Evolutionary Modeling, in P. M. Atkinson, G. M. Foody, S. E. Darby & F. Wu (eds), Geodynamics, pp.273–293. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl., 2005.Google Scholar
  5. M. Batty, ‘Cities as complex systems: scaling, interactions, networks, dynamics and urban morphologies’, Working Paper 131, UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (2008).Google Scholar
  6. M. Batty, ‘The size, scale, and shape of cities’, Science 319, 769–771 (2008).Google Scholar
  7. H. A. Makse, S. Havlin & H. E. Stanley, ‘Modelling urban growth patterns’, Nature 377, 608–612 (1995).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. F. Schweitzer & J. Steinbink, ‘Urban cluster growth: analysis and computer simulations of urban aggregations’, in F. Schweitzer (ed.), Self-Organization of Complex Structures: From Individual to Collective Dynamics, pp.501–518. Gordon & Breach, London, 1997.Google Scholar
  9. R. Carvalho & A. Penn, ‘Scaling and universality in the microstructure of urban space’, Physica A 32, 539–547 (2004).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. F. Semboloni, ‘Optimization and control of the urban spatial dynamics’, Complexus 2, 195–203 (2004/2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bettencourt, L. M. A., J. Lobo, D. Helbing, C. Kühnert & G. B. West, ‘Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities’, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 7301–7306 (2007).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. K. Nagel, R. J. Beckman & C. L. Barrett, ‘TRANSIMS for Urban Planning’, Paper LA-UR 984389. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, Nm.,1999.Google Scholar
  13. D. Helbing & K. Nagel, ‘The physics of traffic and regional development’, Contemp. Phys. 45, 405–426 (2004).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Ball
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

Personalised recommendations