Some recent advances in urban system science: models and data

Elsa Arcaute1 and José J. Ramasco2

1Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4TJ, UK
2Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos IFISC (CSIC-UIB), 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

(Dec 2021)

Cities are characterized by the presence of a dense population with a high potential for interactions between individuals of diverse backgrounds. They appear in parallel to the Neolithic revolution a few millennia ago. The advantages brought in terms of agglomeration for economy, innovation, social and cultural advancements have kept them as a major landmark in recent human history. There are many different aspects to study in urban systems from a scientific point of view, just to name a few one can concentrate in demography and population evolution, mobility, economic output, land use and urban planning, home accessibility and real estate market, energy and water consumption, waste processing, health, education, integration of minorities, etc. In the last decade, the introduction of communication and information technologies have enormously facilitated the collection of datasets on these and other questions, making possible a more quantitative approach to city science. All these topics have been addressed in many works in the literature, and we do not intend to offer here a systematic review. Instead, we will only provide a brief taste of some of these above-mentioned aspects, which could serve as an introduction to a subsequent special number. Such a non-systematic view will lead us to leave outside many relevant papers, and for this we apologise.

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