Brainstorm on Urban Complexity



By studying cities as Complex Adaptive Systems the IAS aims to develop new understanding and methods to address urban challenges, whether it be crime, epidemics, mobility, poverty, city growth, etc.


The majority of the world population is living in urban areas, and virtually all countries of the world are becoming increasingly urbanised. This trend has significant implications for living conditions, the environment and development. In addition to being an area where new opportunities are abundant, a city is also a source of challenges such as increased crime, pollution and disease.

Complexity approach

Urban areas are characterised by numerous complex systems be it large human crowds and safety, traffic systems and infrastructure reaching their capacity, new modes and technology related to mobility and its impact, residential segregation and housing affordability, cultural conflicts and encounters, urban metabolism and environmental sustainability, new drivers of economic development, or simply understanding how the growth of the city is affected by the vast differentiation in wealth. At the same time cities around the world are seeing an explosion in the data and information that is being collected daily. Computational models and complex systems thinking are now being applied to help address a wide range of urban challenges, whether it be crime, epidemics, mobility, poverty, city growth, etc.

Brainstorm goals

In this brainstorm session, we will bring together UvA researchers with roots in various complementing disciplines to generate ideas for scientific challenges to be studied within the framework of the research programme Urban Complexity, creating synergies between existing lines of research.

Published by  UvA Institute for Advanced Study