For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Urban complexity

Countries are becoming increasingly urbanised, causing challenges ranging from crime and epidemics to mobility and poverty. At the same time, the amount of data and information that is being collected on a daily basis is exploding. At the IAS, we develop new methods and understanding using computational models and complex systems thinking to address urban opportunities and challenges.

The majority of the world population is living in urban areas, and virtually all countries of the world are becoming increasingly urbanised. This trend has significant implications for living conditions, the environment and urban development. In addition to being an area where new opportunities are abundant, growing cities are also confronted with new challenges such as increased crime, pollution and disease.

In this research programme, we study the interplay between the social and physical structures in cities. Urban areas are characterised by numerous complex systems, and can be seen as living laboratories. Some examples include large human crowds and safety, emergent behaviours and technologies related to mobility and its impact, dynamics of residential segregation and housing affordability, cultural conflicts and encounters, urban metabolism and environmental resilience, or simply understanding how the growth of the city is affected by the vast differentiation in wealth.

At the same time cities around the world are seeing an explosion in the data and information that is being collected daily. At the IAS, computational models and complex systems thinking are being applied to help address a wide range of urban challenges such as crime, epidemics, mobility, poverty and city growth. This research requires involvement of various disciplines including geography, urban planning, sociology and computational science.

Scientific Lead

Luca Bertolini

Professor of Urban Planning, University of Amsterdam

Luca Bertolini

I work on the integration of transport and land use planning, on concepts for coping with uncertainty in planning, and on ways of enhancing theory-practice interaction. My publication topics include planning for sustainable accessibility in urban regions, conceptualising urbanism in the network society, and the application of evolutionary theories to planning.



More information

To find out more about this research theme, or discuss getting involved, contact Michael Lees or Justus Uitermark.

dr. M.H. (Mike) Lees

Faculty of Science

Informatics Institute

Prof. J.L. (Justus) Uitermark

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference