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Urban Morphodynamics: Reconciling Location Theory and Complex Systems

Abstract : Cities play an important role in the global effort to achieve sustainable development. In that perspective, new adaptive approaches of urban planning call for a reliable understanding of Urban Morphodynamics: the evolution of the spatial structure of an urban system from elementary interactions between its components. In this thesis, theoretical and methodological contributions to Urban Morphodynamics are proposed from the integration of the two main strands of literature in quantitative urban geography: Location Theory, which embodies a long tradition of studies on the economic determinants of the location of economic activities, and Complex Systems, which provide a recent description on how cities self-organize from the dynamic interactions of many individuals. The first part of the thesis reviews the historical evolutions of Location Theory and Complex Systems from the perspective of Urban Morphodynamics. It argues that microsimulations provide a fertile ground to integrate both approaches in an applicable domain knowledge, on the condition that they are supported by a consistent theory. The second part of the thesis addresses two problems of Urban Morphodynamics and proposes original combinations of concepts and methods from both Location Theory and Complex Systems. First, using mathematical modelling, it exposes the scaling properties of the equilibrium monocentric city model. Second, coupling analytical developments with agent-based simulations, it explores the dynamic growth of a non-monocentric city model. In a third part, it proposes a hybrid modelling framework that combines the behavioural foundations of discrete choice theory with the nonlinear dynamic models of Synergetics. This framework is then applied to a core-periphery model of New Economic Geography and refines its predictions of urban development trajectories. In a fourth and last part, in light of the proposed models, this thesis argues that the theoretical foundations of Location Theory and Complex Systems can be reconciled in a consistent theory of Urban Morphodynamics. It also offers new research perspectives to extend the hybrid modelling framework to this end.
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Contributor : Justin Delloye <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 10:03:08 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 27, 2018 - 1:14:14 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 2:05:46 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01847861, version 1



Justin Delloye. Urban Morphodynamics: Reconciling Location Theory and Complex Systems. Geography. Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique), 2018. English. ⟨tel-01847861⟩



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