Abstract

The dynamics of urban systems can be understood from an evolutionary perspective, in some sense extending biological and cultural evolution. Models for systems of cities implementing elementary evolutionary processes remain however to be investigated. We propose here such a model for urban dynamics at the macroscopic scale, in which the diffusion of innovations between cities captures transformation processes (mutations) and transmission processes (diffusion), using two coupled spatial interaction models. Explorations of the model on synthetic systems of cities show the role of spatial interaction and innovation diffusion ranges on measures of diversity and utility, and the existence of intermediate ranges yielding an optimal utility. Multi-objective optimization shows how the model produces a compromize between utility and diversity. This model paves the way towards more elaborated formalizations of urban evolution.

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