The New Science of Cities - GEO4-3632

 

Instructors 

Pierre-Alexandre Balland - p.balland@uu.nl

Teresa Farinha -  teresafarinhaf@gmail.com

Ron Boschma - R.A.Boschma@uu.nl 

Bas Spierings - b.spierings@uu.nl

Course description

The new science of cities uses recent advances in network thinking, complexity science and big data management to understand how cities function, grow, and change. Beyond buildings and urban landscapes, the soul of a city is defined by a complex web of social interactions that are fueled by urban diversity and urban density. These interactions foster new inventions, social change, and wealth creation. In this course, we discuss how a complexity perspective can help us to analyze these interactions and re-think key issues in economic and urban geography. More specifically, it will introduce concepts and methods to map and measure relationships and flows between people, firms, cities, or any other element of a complex spatial system. The class is composed of lectures, interactive seminars, and group meetings. Students will learn: 

 

1. What a complexity-based paradigm is, and how it can be applied to cities
2. How to identify, describe, and analyze the economic and social structure of cities
3. How the structure of cities influence their growth and quality of life

4. General underlying patterns common to all cities
5. How the new science of cities can be used to plan smart cities

 

Seminars

Students will actively prepare weekly tutorials in order to perform a truly interactive seminar. The idea is to use the concept and tools introduced by the lecturer to re-think (or solve) a real-world urban problem. I encourage you to think big and break the rules. Creativity is rewarded in this class. 

 

Grading

The overall grade for the class will be based on an individual paper (80%) and a presentation in class (20%).

 

Research paper

The research paper can be very academic, or very applied. Each student will focus on a specific urban issue and discuss the extent and the causes of this issues (academic) or how to solve this problem (applied) using a new science of cities perspective (network thinking and complexity science). The preliminary idea will be presented by students during seminar 6 with the full class, and then further discussed in individual meetings. The paper should be 1,500-word long maximum (excluding references) and contain graphics. The deadline to send the report is November 8. You need to upload your report to this folder (please do not send the report by email) as a PDF. 

 

Readings

There is no class reader. The PDFs for the weekly readings are provided on this webpage. All articles listed should be considered mandatory reading. Additional online materials will be assigned throughout the quarter.

 

Course Schedule

Week  |        Day        |   Date  |        Time        |     Location    |        Activity          |  Lecturer  

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   36     |                               MIT-INET-UU workshop                         |        conference     |  Balland et al. 

   37     |    Thursday   |  12/09  |  09:00-10:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 1       |  Balland

   37     |    Thursday   |  12/09  |  11:00-12:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 2       |  Balland 

   38     |    Thursday   |  19/09  |  09:00-10:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 3       |  Balland     

   38     |    Thursday   |  19/09  |  11:00-12:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Tutorial 3       |  Balland                           

   39     |    Thursday   |  26/09  |  09:00-10:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 4       |  Boschma 

   39     |    Thursday   |  26/09  |  11:00-12:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Tutorial 4       |  Boschma 

   40     |    Thursday   |  03/10  |  09:00-10:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 5       |  Spierings

   40     |    Thursday   |  03/10  |  11:00-12:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Tutorial 5       |  Spierings

   41     |    Thursday   |  10/10  |  09:00-10:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Lecture 6       |  Farinha

   41     |    Thursday   |  10/10  |  11:00-12:45  |    BBG - 179    |         Tutorial 6       |  Farinha

   42     |                    to be arranged with the lecturer                     |    Ind. meetings     |  Balland/Spierings   

   43     |                    to be arranged with the lecturer                     |    Ind. meetings     |  Balland/Spierings      

   44     |    Thursday   |  31/10  |  09:00-12:45  |   BBG - 165     |     Presentations    |  Balland

Lecture 1: Complex systems and network thinking [PDF]

 

Topics covered

- Overview of class

- Introduction to network thinking

- Complex networks in natural sciences, social sciences, and business

- Key structural patterns of real-world complex systems

- Cities as complex systems?

 

References

- Balland, P.A. (2017) A review of Why Information Grows? The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies by César Hidalgo, Journal of Economic and Social Geography (TESG), 108 (2): 258–260 [PDF]

- Barabási, A. L. (2012) The network takeover, Nature Physics 8 (1), 14-16 [PDF]

- Barabási, A. L. (2016) Network Science. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press - Chapter 2 [PDF]

- Weaver, W (1948) Science and Complexity, American Scientist, 36: 536 (1948) [PDF]

Lecture 2: Urban Scaling Laws [PDF]

 

Topics covered

- Kleiber's law and scaling

- Sublinear and superlinear scaling in cities

- Cities and social interactions

- Complexity and urban scaling

 

References

- Bettencourt, L. M. (2013). The origins of scaling in cities. science, 340(6139), 1438-1441 [PDF]

- Balland, P.A., Jara-Figueroa, C., Petralia, S., Steijn, M., Rigby, D., and Hidalgo, C. (2018) Complex Economic Activities Concentrate in Large, MIT Media Lab Working Papers [PDF]

- Batty, M. (2009) Cities as complex systems: Scaling, interaction, networks, dynamics and urban morphologies. In Encyclopedia of complexity and systems science (pp. 1041-1071). New York: Springer [PDF]

Lecture 3: Complexity & Urban Growth

 

Topics covered

- What is economic complexity and how to measure it

- Why complexity leads to sustainable growth

- Knowledge complexity and place-dependent dynamics

 

References

- Balland, P.A. and Rigby, D. (2017) The Geography of Complex Knowledge, Economic Geography, 93 (1): 1-23 [PDF]

- Hidalgo, C. A., & Hausmann, R. (2009). The building blocks of economic complexity. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 106(26), 10570-10575 [PDF]

- The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) website

Lecture 4: The Principle of Relatedness

 

Topics covered

- Predicting changes in spatial systems

- Why complexity leads to sustainable growth

- Knowledge complexity and place-dependent dynamics

 

References

- Hidalgo, C., Balland, P.A., Boschma, R., Delgado, M., Feldman, M., Frenken, K., Glaeser, E., He, C., Kogler, D., Morrison, A.,  Neffke, F., Rigby, D., Stern, S., Zheng, S., and Zhu, S. (2018)  The Principle of Relatedness,  Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Complex Systems, forthcoming [PDF]

- Hidalgo, C. A., Klinger, B., Barabási, A. L., & Hausmann, R. (2007). The product space conditions the development of nations. Science, 317(5837), 482-487 [PDF]

- Farinha, T., Balland, P.A., Morrison, A., and Boschma, R. (2018) What drives the geography of jobs in the US? Unpacking relatedness, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography, 18 (13): 1-24 [PDF]

Lecture 5: Spatial trialectics, relational public space and critical urbanism

 

Topics covered

- Production of space

- Materiality of imaginaries

- Othering, exclusion and resistance

 

 

References

- Colomb, C. (2012), Pushing the urban frontier: temporary uses of space, city marketing,

and the creative city discourse in 2000s Berlin. Journal of Urban Affairs: 34(2), 131-152

https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9906.2012.00607.x

 

- Leary, M.E. (2009), The production of space through a shrine and vendetta in

Manchester: Lefebvre’s spatial triad and the regeneration of a place renamed Castlefield.

Planning Theory & Practice, 10(2), 189-212.

https://doi.org/10.1080/14649350902884573

 

- Schaller, S. and S. Guinand (2018), Pop-up landscapes: a new trigger to push up land value? Urban Geography, 39(1), 54-74.

https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2016.1276719

 

- Young, C., M. Diep and S. Drabble (2006). Living with difference? The ‘cosmopolitan

city’ and urban reimagining in Manchester, UK. Urban Studies: 43(10), 1687-1714.

https://doi.org/10.1080%2F00420980600888486

Lecture 6: Towards Smart Cities

 

Topics covered

- Smart Specialization Framework

- Using data to govern cities

- Energy, mobility, well being

 

References

- Balland, P.A., Boschma, R., Crespo, J. and Rigby, D. (2018)  Smart Specialization policy in the EU: Relatedness, Knowledge Complexity and Regional Diversification, Regional Studies, forthcoming [PDF]

- Smart Specialization Framework Website

- INET Webinar "How Regions Can Re-invent Themselves" by Pierre-Alexandre Balland

- Kent Larson Talk in Barcelona

 

Assignment for seminar 6

Present your idea