Building a formal model of urban evolution

“Towards a model of urban evolution” is a series of papers that seeks to articulate a formal model of urban evolution. Part I provides context and background for the effort, situating it against related work across multiple fields and arguing that the evolutionary approach has the potential so synthesize them. Part II lays out the core terms and functions of the model. Part III shows how the model can be used to characterize urban evolution in terms of variation, selection, and retention. 

The latest version of Part I was recently published on SocArXiv and can be accessed here. Below is the abstract.

Abstract: This paper seeks to develop the core concepts of a model of urban evolution. It proceeds in four major sections. First we review prior adumbrations of an evolutionary model in urban theory, not-ing their potential and their limitations. Second, we turn to the general sociocultural evolution litera-ture to draw inspiration for a fresh and more complete application of evolutionary theory to the study of urban life. Third, building upon this background, we outline the main elements of our proposed model, with special attention to elaborating the value of its key conceptual innovation, the “formeme.” Last, we conclude with a discussion of what types of research commitments the overall approach does or does not imply, and point toward the more formal elaboration of the model that we undertake in “Towards a Model of Urban Evolution II” and “Towards a Model of Urban Evo-lution III.”