To begin growing our system we looked to build upon the most basic processes which drive the human tendencies toward urbanisation and agriculture and the opposing forces that have resulted in the current state of city vs country. Our research suggests both that urbanisation and agriculture result from the very basic tendency of life to organize itself into ever increasing complexity in order to take advantage of the increasing cost-benefits of cooperation.
Just as in the origins of life, where simple polymers joined in symbiotic relationships to form the first basic metabolisms, cities have emerged and flourished due to economies created in what are essentially higher scale metabolic circuits. Our system development begins with modelling this process of cooperative settlement, allowing agents to ‘choose’ to live adjacent to another, or to live remotely - this tendency being weighted with a user-defined variable.
However just as densities in predator populations put stress on their prey and subsequently the ecology that sustains them, the very success of cities are stressing their sustainability. This causality becomes evident when the drive toward density pushes agricultural production to the hinterland and increases the energetic costs of obtaining this fuel.
Once these basic processes are modelled, we will introduce and explore parameters which could steer the system dynamics towards a more stable state, as previously defined. These parameters, once identified and understood, will provide the means with which to implement intelligent controls to enable implementation and adaptation to specific environmental and political contexts.