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Entropy 2019, 21(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21010056

Entropy and its Application to Urban Systems

1,2,* , 1,2
and
1,3
1
Laboratory for Urban Complexity and Sustainability, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
2
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
3
School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy and Scale-Dependence in Urban Modelling)
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Abstract

Since its conception over 150 years ago, entropy has enlightened and confused scholars and students alike, from its origins in physics and beyond. More recently, it has been considered within the urban context in a rather eclectic range of applications. The entropy maximization approach, as applied by Alan Wilson and others from the 1960s, contrasts with considerations from the 1990s of the city as a thermodynamic dissipative system, in the tradition of Ilya Prigogine. By reviewing the relevant mathematical theory, we draw the distinction among three interrelated definitions of entropy, the thermodynamic, the figurative, and the information statistical. The applications of these definitions to urban systems within the literature are explored, and the conflation of the thermodynamic and figurative interpretations are disentangled. We close this paper with an outlook on future uses of entropy in urban systems analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: entropy maximisation; second law; dissipative systems; cities; urban modeling; thermodynamics; information; statistical physics; probability entropy maximisation; second law; dissipative systems; cities; urban modeling; thermodynamics; information; statistical physics; probability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Purvis, B.; Mao, Y.; Robinson, D. Entropy and its Application to Urban Systems. Entropy 2019, 21, 56.

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