2nd International Conference on GeoComputation

Individuals’ Cultural Code and Residential Self-Organization in the City Space

Juval Portugali and Itzhak Benenson

Department of Geography,
University Tel-Aviv, Tel-Aviv,
Ramat-Aviv, 69978, Israel,
phone +972-3-6409178, fax: +972-3-6414148

Email: bennya@ccsg.tau.ac.il

Presented at the second annual conference of GeoComputation ‘97 & SIRC ‘97, University of Otago, New Zealand, 26-29 August 1997


We consider the city as a complex and open system, that exhibits phenomena of self-organization. We further suggest, that as such a system the city has a special characteristic: its elementary components are human individuals which, unlike the elementary units of non-living and most of the living systems, are themselves self-organizing complex systems. Based on this approach, we have developed a series of agent-based models of city residential dynamics - City model, with which we were able to show the emergence of different forms of cultural and economic segregation, and, most importantly, the emergence of a new socio-cultural group in the city space (Portugali, Benenson, Omer, 1994, 1997, Benenson, Portugali, 1995, Portugali, Benenson, 1994, 1995, 1997). Our previous studies were based on the presentation of the individual agent’s properties, namely economic status and cultural identity, as one-dimensional quantitative variables. In this paper, we call off this oversimplifying suggestion, regarding agent cultural identity and consider the latter as a multidimensional and qualitative variable. Such a representation implies that each individual agent in the model has its own personal "cultural code" (reminiscence in its nature a genetic code), and that the cultural groups of the city consist of individuals with identical cultural code. This formulation allows us to study the recurrent process of socio-cultural emergence and elimination in the city.