Evolutionary games in cities and urban planning

Sara Encarnação, Fernando P. Santos, Francisco C. Santos, Margarida Pereira, Jorge M. Pacheco, Juval Portugali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Cities are complex adaptive systems emerging from the (un)intended coordination among many actors. Urban planning aims to both avert cities’ difficulties and sustain the collective good over time. It requires comprehending, predicting - or at least reasoning about - the responses of decision-makers to environmental, social, economic and political challenges. If one regards such decision-makers as influenced and influencing agents embedded in large communities, it becomes essential for the planning endeavour to understand and adapt to the long-term dynamics of strategies employed. To this end, tools such as Evolutionary Game Theory (EGT) allow studying the strategic dynamics resulting from diverse decision-makers, and interaction rules. Hence, we start by introducing classical Game Theory and EGT, and highlighting the potential role of EGT in planning. We will then focus on the particular case of dynamics between different types of city players - representing various sectors of society. To this end, we will exemplify the application of EGT concepts in the context of the adoption of green policies. We conclude this Chapter by framing previous results in a wider planning perspective, while elaborating on future research avenues that may rely on EGT to guide urban planning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Cities and Complexity
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781789900125
ISBN (Print)9781789900118
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


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