Satellite Meeting at ECCS 2012: Complexity in Spatial Dynamics

Satellite Meeting: Complexity in Spatial Dynamics (COSMIC)

Location: Brussels, 5th of September 2012

Organizers: Peter Nijkamp, Michael Batty, Stewart Fotheringham, and Emmanouil Tranos


New bottom up, digital data collected for entire populations, has started being utilised in urban science and geospatial analysis for understanding and modelling urban dynamic processes. Such data will provide dramatically new insights into urban change which manifest themselves in often discontinuous forms which can be articulated using a variety of reaction-diffusion dynamics incorporating catastrophe, chaos, bifurcations, and phase transitions.

Despite these developments, urban analysis is still lacking a typology of urban dynamic processes such as urban flow data, the associated networks and interactions from labour markets to pedestrian movement, to guide the development of models using new digital data collected in real time from electronic transactions such as phone lines, electronic ticketing, and related geosensing.

Urban analysis needs to be supported by the development of theories and models that explain, simulate and predict the dynamics of cities defined across spatial/geographical scales from the global to the local, from the world city to the village. Research in this area has immediate applicability to city planning, urban policy analysis, urbanisation, and world development. In the last twenty years, the field has embraced new developments in complexity theory based on the inescapable logic that such systems mainly develop organically, from the bottom up, illustrating fascinating, surprising and sometime chaotic patterns of emergence, which show order at all scales and are hard to understand as anything but the remorseless action of decision-making at the lowest levels. This presents one of the grandest of challenges to policy-making: current policy instruments are often pitched at the wrong scale, producing methods of intervention which are largely ineffective in that they ignore the essential logic of the way such human systems actually develop.

What makes this particularly opportune is the fact that massive new streams of data with respect to movement and location patterns in city systems are rapidly becoming available. These are providing the momentum for new developments in theory and modelling and they are essential in taking complexity science to the point where it becomes truly applicable in policy making.

Submitting papers

Methodological, empirical and conceptual papers demonstrating how long-standing ideas about urban dynamics can be tested and validated using new data sources that provide information about routine decision-making concerning locations and interactions are welcome. We are particularly interested in models of the mechanisms governing how cities change, which generate both smooth and abrupt change reminiscent of criticality, catastrophe, and chaos, and can be tested and extended using these new digital data. One of the key issues in this new view of urban dynamics is the recognition that dynamics exists on all temporal scales from fast and routine, to slow and infrequent, permeated by continuous secular changes as massive discontinuities. We welcome papers which examine the dynamics of change in urban networks, their clusters, communities and hubs. Submission now open! All participants at the satellite are also expected to register for ECCS12.

Important Dates
One-page abstract submission 18 April
Early-bid registration deadline 30 April
Notification of acceptance 1 June
Deadline for ECCS2012 Registration
(also required if attending only the Satellite Meetings)
31 August
COSMIC Satellite Meeting 5 September


Organizational details

The COSMIC Satellite Event will be a one-day event. The list of invited speakers includes among others Mike Batty, Peter Nijkamp, Alan Wilson and Stewart Fotheringham. Younger researchers will also be encouraged to submit papers. Authors are invited to submit a one-page abstract through the conference website.

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