The Biologic Networks of Cities

MADE Student Project

Given the development of network theory and complexity theory and their application to urban studies in recent decades, a paradigm shift is occurring with more and more scholars claiming to see the city as a complex adaptive system. This system is supposedly built up from the simple individual actions and interactions and give rise to emergent patterns. Much like an ant’s colony. Another research trend in recent decades is the science of cities. Aimed at finding the underlying rules of urban development. This branch of science is finding allometric scaling laws that are present in biological networks (e.g., like water transport in trees or the cardio-vascular system in mammals) and are applicable to urban characteristics. Using a slime mold as model organism for its ability to form robust and efficient networks, this study aims to develop a computer model of urban growth through its networks. Instead of chemotaxis, geodata will guide the slime mold’s growth. Using geodata from Western Europe a virtual “petri dish” is populated by the slime mold to mimic urban networks. The results from the model show that by adding geodata, slime mold models can become more accurate in representing real urban networks. Despite the positive results, the accuracy of representing real urban networks differs in the different study areas. Nonetheless, the study show that this methodology can be further developed to allow for network evaluation in the future.

Author: Thomas Schram

Afbeelding credits

Icon afbeelding: Biologic Network by Science Photo Library.png