Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 3 (1999), Issue 2-3, Pages 125-136

Self-organization in interface dynamics and urban development

Ehud Meron

The Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research and The Physics Department, Ben-Gurion University, Sede Boker Campus, 84990, Israel

Received 16 November 1998

Copyright © 1999 Ehud Meron. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The view of the urban environment as an extended nonlinear system introduces new concepts, motivates new questions, and suggests new methodologies in the study of urban dynamics. A review of recent results on interface dynamics in nonequilibrium physical systems is presented, and possible implications on the urban environment are discussed. It is suggested that the growth modes of specific urban zones (e.g. residential, commercial, or industrial) and the factors affecting them can be studied using mathematical models that capture two generic interface instabilities.