Planning for Evolution of Cities

The evolution of human-social organization to live in large agglomerations – called urban areas, in the process of urbanization has posed new and complex challenges for planning and governance in meeting the necessary demands of infrastructure and amenities, while minimizing the implications on environment and resources. In the process of organic urbanization, despite the city-size distributions confirming to the scaling laws (Zipf’s law) resulting in hierarchical organization of societies, the urban primacy is continuously increasing. As a consequence, only a few cities are growing rapidly resulting in urban sprawl that is often unplanned and uncoordinated outgrowths beyond the geometrically laid out land-use plans and governed by idealized zoning regulations and building bye-laws. Thus, cities self-organise and continuously adapt to find newer ways of managing its resources and meet the perpetually increasing demands. In other words, Cities evolve.

Planning has until now restricted to preparation of idealised geometric land-use plans that grossly ignored the interactions among different sub-systems and the ensuing dynamics. Two key sub-systems that demand integration are land-use and transportation systems in forecasting future urban growth. Research on methods of modeling urban systems have now demonstrated agent-based modeling as one plausible approach that when combined with System Dynamics can offer a better understanding of the complex urban systems. Research at Gubbi Labs is focusing on building an integrated and comprehensive understanding of how cities evolve. This is achieved combining the understanding and insights gained from system dynamics for different sub-systems, institutional ethnographic studies, policy analyses through spatially explicit simulations using agent-based models.

As an outcome of this research, outputs include tools/models that allow users/planners/decision-makers to play/test various policy options and forecast future urban growth.

Projects that have been pursued under this theme are:

Related Publication

  • King R., Rathi S., and Sudhira H. S., 2012. An approach to regional planning in India. International Journal of System of Systems Engineering (IJSSE), Vol. 3(2), pp: 117-128. DOI: 10.1504/IJSSE.2012.048449
  • Sudhira H. S. and Ramachandra T. V., 2009. A Spatial Planning Support System for Managing Bangalore’s Urban Sprawl. In: Stan Geertman and John Stillwell (Eds.), Planning Support Systems: Best Practice and New Methods. Springer.