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Open AccessArticle

Cities, from Information to Interaction

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Department of Urbanism, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rua Passo da Patria 156, Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro 24210-240, Brazil
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Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Av. Athos da Silveira Ramos 149, Rio de Janeiro 21941-972, Brazil
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Laboratory on Human-Environment Relations in Urban Systems, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne HERUS, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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Deparment of Physics (DFI), Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA), Caixa postal 3037, Lavras, Brazil
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Adalbertstraße 66, PLZ 10179 Berlin, Germany
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Programme of Graduate Studies, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rua Passo da Patria 156, Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro 24210-240, Brazil
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Department of Forest Science, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Pádua Dias 11, Piracicaba, São Paulo 13418-900, Brazil
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2018, 20(11), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/e20110834
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy and Scale-Dependence in Urban Modelling)
From physics to the social sciences, information is now seen as a fundamental component of reality. However, a form of information seems still underestimated, perhaps precisely because it is so pervasive that we take it for granted: the information encoded in the very environment we live in. We still do not fully understand how information takes the form of cities, and how our minds deal with it in order to learn about the world, make daily decisions, and take part in the complex system of interactions we create as we live together. This paper addresses three related problems that need to be solved if we are to understand the role of environmental information: (1) the physical problem: how can we preserve information in the built environment? (2) The semantic problem: how do we make environmental information meaningful? and (3) the pragmatic problem: how do we use environmental information in our daily lives? Attempting to devise a solution to these problems, we introduce a three-layered model of information in cities, namely environmental information in physical space, environmental information in semantic space, and the information enacted by interacting agents. We propose forms of estimating entropy in these different layers, and apply these measures to emblematic urban cases and simulated scenarios. Our results suggest that ordered spatial structures and diverse land use patterns encode information, and that aspects of physical and semantic information affect coordination in interaction systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: information; cities; interaction; environmental information; entropy; scale; enaction information; cities; interaction; environmental information; entropy; scale; enaction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Netto, V.M.; Brigatti, E.; Meirelles, J.; Ribeiro, F.L.; Pace, B.; Cacholas, C.; Sanches, P. Cities, from Information to Interaction. Entropy 2018, 20, 834.

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