Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 3 (1999), Issue 2-3, Pages 149-170

Modeling population dynamics in the city: From a regional to a multi-agent approach

Itzhak Benenson

Department of Geography, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Israel

Received 16 November 1998

Copyright © 1999 Itzhak Benenson. 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 paper reviews different approaches to urban population from the point of view of the theory of complex systems. Regional models deal with large numbers of urban regions involved in exchanging population and resources among themselves. In contrast, ecological models deal with several qualitatively different types of relationships between a small number of components, aimed at understanding the most general laws of urban dynamic. Two relatively new approaches, namely Cellular Automata and multi-agent ones describe the macro-processes resulting from uniform collective processes at the micro-level of land parcels and migrating city individuals. Recent results of the multi-agent simulations regarding abstract and real-world systems are presented in more details.