Special Issue "Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems"

A special issue of Systems (ISSN 2079-8954).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Koen H. van Dam

Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0)20 759 46645
Interests: agent-based modelling; smart cities; city infrastructure systems; socio-technical systems; electric vehicles; urban planning; ontology design
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rémy Courdier

Computer Science and Mathematics Lab (LIM), University of La Réunion, 2 rue Joseph Wetzell, 97490 Ste-Clotilde, La Réunion, France
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +262 (0)262 48 33
Interests: multi-agent systems; agent based modelling; multi-agent simulation; spatial planning; sustainable development; urban system simulation; adaptive collective systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 

City systems, consisting of the various social and technical infrastructures required for urban areas to function, are facing major challenges in the coming decades as global urbanization and the pressure on resource efficiency and sustainability continue. Agent-based simulation and modelling techniques enable us to study these systems from various levels of abstraction looking at actors as well as system level perspectives, and are particularly suited to understand the dynamics of underlying structures and experiment with various scenarios and the effect of local decisions on emerging system properties.

This special issue aims to showcase innovative use of agent-based modelling (ABM) and multi-agent system (MAS) approaches for effective decision support regarding urban innovations in fields linked with urban development and to explore and identify how researchers in different disciplines integrate their knowledge through agent models. We are inviting researchers from across a wide range of disciplines (including computer science, physics, engineering, economics, sociology and others) to submit papers to this special issue that exhibit state-of the art innovation in ABM/MAS applied to cities. This innovation may come in the form of computational, conceptual, analytical, participatory or epistemological advances for a range of aims and motivations associated with the challenge of combining competitiveness and sustainable urban development in city systems. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

City Systems and Sustainability

e.g., resource efficiency, energy systems, sustainable resource management, environmental protection

City Systems and Governance

e.g., public decision-making, public social services, public common resources management

City Systems and Economy

e.g., productivity, technology transitions, urbanisation, real estate, ability to transform

City Systems and Mobility

e.g., transport, accessibility, electric vehicles, public transport

City Systems and Living

e.g., cultural facilities, crime, healthcase, education

City Systems and People

e.g., inclusiveness, cosmopolitanism, open-mindedness, social and ethnic plurality, technology adoption

City System Integration

e.g., linking components from various subsystems, interoperability of agent models, system of systems

City Systems emphasize multidisciplinary dialogue and collaborative work and in this special issue we are interested in illustrating how agent technologies can help to integrate and manage several city dynamics, show in what direction ABM/MAS have already proven real success and explore potential future trajectories.

We welcome case studies as well as methodological papers in this area and very much look forward to your submission.

Dr. Koen H. van Dam
Prof. Dr. Rémy Courdier
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Systems is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agent-based modelling
  • multi-agent systems
  • city systems
  • system integration
  • smart cities
  • infrastructures
  • energy
  • transport
  • health
  • crime
  • urban planning
  • sustainable urban development
  • simulation
  • decision support

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Systems of Interaction between the First Sedentary Villages in the Near East Exposed Using Agent-Based Modelling of Obsidian Exchange
Systems 2016, 4(2), 18; doi:10.3390/systems4020018
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
PDF Full-text (5128 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In the Near East, nomadic hunter-gatherer societies became sedentary farmers for the first time during the transition into the Neolithic. Sedentary life presented a risk of isolation for Neolithic groups. As fluid intergroup interactions are crucial for the sharing of information, resources and
[...] Read more.
In the Near East, nomadic hunter-gatherer societies became sedentary farmers for the first time during the transition into the Neolithic. Sedentary life presented a risk of isolation for Neolithic groups. As fluid intergroup interactions are crucial for the sharing of information, resources and genes, Neolithic villages developed a network of contacts. In this paper we study obsidian exchange between Neolithic villages in order to characterize this network of interaction. Using agent-based modelling and elements taken from complex network theory, we model obsidian exchange and compare results with archaeological data. We demonstrate that complex networks of interaction were established at the outset of the Neolithic and hypothesize that the existence of these complex networks was a necessary condition for the success and spread of a new way of living. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle “Space, the Final Frontier”: How Good are Agent-Based Models at Simulating Individuals and Space in Cities?
Systems 2016, 4(1), 9; doi:10.3390/systems4010009
Received: 5 December 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (963 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities are complex systems, comprising of many interacting parts. How we simulate and understand causality in urban systems is continually evolving. Over the last decade the agent-based modeling (ABM) paradigm has provided a new lens for understanding the effects of interactions of individuals
[...] Read more.
Cities are complex systems, comprising of many interacting parts. How we simulate and understand causality in urban systems is continually evolving. Over the last decade the agent-based modeling (ABM) paradigm has provided a new lens for understanding the effects of interactions of individuals and how through such interactions macro structures emerge, both in the social and physical environment of cities. However, such a paradigm has been hindered due to computational power and a lack of large fine scale datasets. Within the last few years we have witnessed a massive increase in computational processing power and storage, combined with the onset of Big Data. Today geographers find themselves in a data rich era. We now have access to a variety of data sources (e.g., social media, mobile phone data, etc.) that tells us how, and when, individuals are using urban spaces. These data raise several questions: can we effectively use them to understand and model cities as complex entities? How well have ABM approaches lent themselves to simulating the dynamics of urban processes? What has been, or will be, the influence of Big Data on increasing our ability to understand and simulate cities? What is the appropriate level of spatial analysis and time frame to model urban phenomena? Within this paper we discuss these questions using several examples of ABM applied to urban geography to begin a dialogue about the utility of ABM for urban modeling. The arguments that the paper raises are applicable across the wider research environment where researchers are considering using this approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Intra-Urban Accessibility and Impacts of Pollution Policies with an Agent-Based Simulation Platform: GaMiroD
Systems 2016, 4(1), 5; doi:10.3390/systems4010005
Received: 23 November 2015 / Revised: 31 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
PDF Full-text (6911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work we address the issue of sustainable cities by focusing on one of their very central components: daily mobility. Indeed, if cities can be interpreted as spatial organizations allowing social interactions, the number of daily movements needed to reach this goal
[...] Read more.
In this work we address the issue of sustainable cities by focusing on one of their very central components: daily mobility. Indeed, if cities can be interpreted as spatial organizations allowing social interactions, the number of daily movements needed to reach this goal is continuously increasing. Therefore, improving urban accessibility merely results in increasing traffic and its negative externalities (congestion, accidents, pollution, noise, etc.), while eventually reducing the quality of life of people in the city. This is why several urban-transport policies are implemented in order to reduce individual mobility impacts while maintaining equitable access to the city. This challenge is however non-trivial and therefore we propose to investigate this issue from the complex systems point of view. The real spatial-temporal urban accessibility of citizens cannot be approximated just by focusing on space and implies taking into account the space-time activity patterns of individuals, in a more dynamic way. Thus, given the importance of local interactions in such a perspective, an agent based approach seems to be a relevant solution. This kind of individual based and “interactionist” approach allows us to explore the possible impact of individual behaviors on the overall dynamics of the city but also the possible impact of global measures on individual behaviors. In this paper, we give an overview of the Miro Project and then focus on the GaMiroD model design from real data analysis to model exploration tuned by transportation-oriented scenarios. Among them, we start with the the impact of a LEZ (Low Emission Zone) in the city center. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle A Modular Modelling Framework for Hypotheses Testing in the Simulation of Urbanisation
Systems 2015, 3(4), 348-377; doi:10.3390/systems3040348
Received: 25 August 2015 / Revised: 30 October 2015 / Accepted: 24 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we present a modelling experiment developed to study systems of cities and processes of urbanisation in large territories over long time spans. Building on geographical theories of urban evolution, we rely on agent-based models to 1) formalise complementary and alternative
[...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a modelling experiment developed to study systems of cities and processes of urbanisation in large territories over long time spans. Building on geographical theories of urban evolution, we rely on agent-based models to 1) formalise complementary and alternative hypotheses of urbanisation and 2) explore their ability to simulate observed patterns in a virtual laboratory. The paper is therefore divided into two sections : an overview of the mechanisms implemented to represent competing hypotheses used to simulate urban evolution; and an evaluation of the resulting model structures in their ability to simulate—efficiently and parsimoniously—a system of cities (between 1000 and 2000 cities in the Former Soviet Union) over several periods of time (before and after the crash of the USSR). We do so using a modular framework of model-building and evolutionary algorithms for the calibration of several model structures. This project aims at tackling equifinality in systems dynamics by confronting different mechanisms with similar evaluation criteria. It enables the identification of the best-performing models with respect to the chosen criteria by scanning automatically the parameter space along with the space of model structures (the different combinations of mechanisms). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle The Importance of Being Hybrid for Spatial Epidemic Models:A Multi-Scale Approach
Systems 2015, 3(4), 309-329; doi:10.3390/systems3040309
Received: 17 September 2015 / Accepted: 16 November 2015 / Published: 20 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2999 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work addresses the spread of a disease within an urban system, definedas a network of interconnected cities. The first step consists of comparing two differentapproaches: a macroscopic one, based on a system of coupled Ordinary DifferentialEquations (ODE) Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) systems exploiting populations
[...] Read more.
This work addresses the spread of a disease within an urban system, definedas a network of interconnected cities. The first step consists of comparing two differentapproaches: a macroscopic one, based on a system of coupled Ordinary DifferentialEquations (ODE) Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) systems exploiting populations onnodes and flows on edges (so-called metapopulational model), and a hybrid one, couplingODE SIR systems on nodes and agents traveling on edges. Under homogeneous conditions(mean field approximation), this comparison leads to similar results on the outputs on whichwe focus (the maximum intensity of the epidemic, its duration and the time of the epidemicpeak). However, when it comes to setting up epidemic control strategies, results rapidlydiverge between the two approaches, and it appears that the full macroscopic model is notcompletely adapted to these questions. In this paper, we focus on some control strategies,which are quarantine, avoidance and risk culture, to explore the differences, advantages anddisadvantages of the two models and discuss the importance of being hybrid when modelingand simulating epidemic spread at the level of a whole urban system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Tradeoffs in Demand-Side and Supply-Side Management of Urban Water Resources Using Agent-Based Modeling and Evolutionary Computation
Systems 2015, 3(4), 287-308; doi:10.3390/systems3040287
Received: 2 August 2015 / Revised: 22 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (850 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban water supply systems may be managed through supply-side and demand-side strategies, which focus on water source expansion and demand reductions, respectively. Supply-side strategies bear infrastructure and energy costs, while demand-side strategies bear costs of implementation and inconvenience to consumers. To evaluate the
[...] Read more.
Urban water supply systems may be managed through supply-side and demand-side strategies, which focus on water source expansion and demand reductions, respectively. Supply-side strategies bear infrastructure and energy costs, while demand-side strategies bear costs of implementation and inconvenience to consumers. To evaluate the performance of demand-side strategies, the participation and water use adaptations of consumers should be simulated. In this study, a Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) framework is developed to simulate consumer agents that change their consumption to affect the withdrawal from the water supply system, which, in turn influences operational policies and long-term resource planning. Agent-based models are encoded to represent consumers and a policy maker agent and are coupled with water resources system simulation models. The CAS framework is coupled with an evolutionary computation-based multi-objective methodology to explore tradeoffs in cost, inconvenience to consumers, and environmental impacts for both supply-side and demand-side strategies. Decisions are identified to specify storage levels in a reservoir that trigger: (1) increases in the volume of water pumped through inter-basin transfers from an external reservoir; and (2) drought stages, which restrict the volume of water that is allowed for residential outdoor uses. The proposed methodology is demonstrated for Arlington, Texas, water supply system to identify non-dominated strategies for an historic drought decade. Results demonstrate that pumping costs associated with maximizing environmental reliability exceed pumping costs associated with minimizing restrictions on consumer water use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)
Open AccessArticle Simulating Transport and Land Use Interdependencies for Strategic Urban Planning—An Agent Based Modelling Approach
Systems 2015, 3(4), 177-210; doi:10.3390/systems3040177
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 1 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1804 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agent based modelling has been widely accepted as a promising tool for urban planning purposes thanks to its capability to provide sophisticated insights into the social behaviours and the interdependencies that characterise urban systems. In this paper, we report on an agent based
[...] Read more.
Agent based modelling has been widely accepted as a promising tool for urban planning purposes thanks to its capability to provide sophisticated insights into the social behaviours and the interdependencies that characterise urban systems. In this paper, we report on an agent based model, called TransMob, which explicitly simulates the mutual dynamics between demographic evolution, transport demands, housing needs and the eventual change in the average satisfaction of the residents of an urban area. The ability to reproduce such dynamics is a unique feature that has not been found in many of the like agent based models in the literature. TransMob, is constituted by six major modules: synthetic population, perceived liveability, travel diary assignment, traffic micro-simulator, residential location choice, and travel mode choice. TransMob is used to simulate the dynamics of a metropolitan area in South East of Sydney, Australia, in 2006 and 2011, with demographic evolution. The results are favourably compared against survey data for the area in 2011, therefore validating the capability of TransMob to reproduce the observed complexity of an urban area. We also report on the application of TransMob to simulate various hypothetical scenarios of urban planning policies. We conclude with discussions on current limitations of TransMob, which serve as suggestions for future developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling of City Systems)

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