Cities, as individual entities, stick to a set of rules with respect to topography, existing geological features like oceans, lakes, and rivers, zoning requirements, and more as they evolve and grow. But that doesn’t make them simple to produce—particularly in digital formal for products like video games or urban-growth projections. “The randomness you find in a city comes from a whole history of accidents that became functional,” Luís Bettencourt, a professor of complex systems at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, told Wired recently. As a result, the creation of what planners call “procedural cities” relies on a computational method whose algorithms generate random collections of streets, buildings, and natural life. Researchers are now working to add the organic element of time-assisted complexity to these digital urban landscapes. As it turns out, the task is not so easy. “The only way to do it is to have another complex system create it, which is basically a person,” Bettencourt says.
Read the full story at Wired.