Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Building Blocks of the City: Points, Lines and Polygons

This week I will be attending the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London, and giving a paper entitled "The Building Blocks of the City: Points, Lines and Polygons" in a duel session called "Enhancing Complex Social Simulations with Automata Systems" on Thursday, organised by Geographical Information Science Research Group and Quantitative Methods Research Group of the RGS. The abstract for the talk is below, if you are around the conference come and say hello.

Talk outline:

"The Agent-based modelling (ABM) paradigm is becoming an increasingly used technique to study cities. It allows us to grow social structures ‘in silico’ specifically how a set of micro-specifications are sufficient to generate the macro-phenomena of interest. Until recently many applications of agent-based models exploring urban phenomena have used a regular partition of space (cells) to represent space. While these models have provided valuable insights into urban phenomena especially as they can capture geographic detail, they miss geometric detail. This area is critical to good applications but is barely touched upon in the literature.

Geometry (points, lines and polygons), forms the skeleton of cities from streets and buildings, through to parks, rivers, etc. The ability to represent the urban environment as a series of points, lines, and polygons allows for different size features such as houses and roads to be directly incorporated into the modelling process onto which other physical and social attributes can be added. Additionally the inclusion of geometry allows us to make agent-based models more realistic compared to representing the urban environment as a series of discrete regular cells.

This paper will explore how agent-based models coupled loosely with geographic information systems (GIS) can be created through illustrated examples focusing on residential location. These applications directly consider geometry when building these artificial worlds and running the simulation and highlight how the inclusion of geometry impacts on simulation results. Furthermore problems and challenges with this approach and ABM in general will be identified along with further work."

The talk can be downloaded from here (5.8MB). A previous post and a paper related to this talk can be found here.

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