2012 volume 39(2) pages 262 – 286
doi:10.1068/b37078

Cite as:
Barker D, 2012, "Slime mold cities" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 39(2) 262 – 286

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Slime mold cities

David Barker

Received 2 June 2010; in revised form 28 March 2011

Abstract. Inspired by the behavior of slime mold cells, Paul Krugman developed a simple one-dimensional model in which moving firms self-organize into cities. In this paper I show that extending the model into two dimensions significantly improves its realism. Cities in the two-dimensional model are similar in several respects to real cities; they grow and decline, they cluster near rivers and coasts, and, given certain parameters, their distribution follows Zipf's law. A calibration exercise, however, suggests that observed levels of agglomeration must be due to factors beyond those included in the model.

Keywords: urban, slime mold, self-organization, Zipf, Krugman

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