Computer Simulation of Geospatial Dynamics: How Do Cities Grow and Evolve?

Cities are the engines of creativity, wealth creation and economic growth in our society. Despite the increasing importance of cities in modern world, our ability to understand them scientifically and to manage them well in practice is limited. The greatest difficulties and challenges to any scientific approach to cities have resulted from their many interdependent facets, such as social, economic, infrastructural, and temporal-spatial processes. The problems associated with urban research and city management lie in the treatments of those facets as independent issues. This frequently results in ineffective policies which often lead to unfortunate and sometimes disastrous unintended consequences. This research is going to treat city as complex system to investigate the mechanics behind urban land use growth and evolution. The ultimate goal of this research is going to build a computer-based simulation model to simulate the dynamic processes of urban growth and evolution by integrating urban system theory, complex system theory, and Artificial Intelligent (AI) technologies. The model will be based on an integration of Cellular Automata (CA), Agent-based Modeling (ABM) and evolutionary algorithms. Shanghai and Calgary will be selected as implementation cases of this research.

Faculty Supervisor:

Wei Xu


Rongxu Qiu



Geography / Geology / Earth science



University of Lethbridge



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