Juval Portugali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


The notion of complex artificial environments (CAE) refers to theories of complexity and self-organization, as well as to artifacts in general, and to artificial environments, such as cities, in particular. The link between the two, however, is not trivial. For one thing, the theories of complexity and self-organization originated in the "hard" science and by reference to natural phenomena in physics and biology. The study of artifacts, per contra, has traditionally been the business of the "soft" disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. The notion of "complex artificial environments" thus implies the supposition that the theories of complexity and self-organization, together with the mathematical formalisms and methodologies developed for their study, apply beyond the domain of nature. Such a supposition raises a whole set of questions relating to the nature of 21st century cities and urbanism, to philosophical issues regarding the natural versus the artificial, to the methodological legitimacy of interdisciplinary transfer of theories and methodologies and to the implications that entail the use of sophisticated, state-of-theart artifacts such as virtual reality (VR) cities and environments. The three-day workshop on the study of complex artificial environments that took place on the island of San Servolo, Venice, during April 1-3, 2004, was a gathering of scholars engaged in the study of the various aspects of CAE. The aim was to share experiences and to discuss both the issues noted above, as well as the more specific questions concerning the detailed structure of the models used in the study of cities, their association with the knowledge about human behavior in natural, artificial and virtual environments, as gained in cognitive sciences, and finally their use as planning tools. Following the workshop in Venice, the participants elaborated on their contributions and extended them into full-scale papers. This book is the outcome. The book is divided into five parts. The first deals with general aspects of CAE; the second, with specific experiences of laboratories that in the last decade or so have specialized in CAE; the third part focuses on cellular automata and agent base models, which are currently the main approaches to urban simulation models; the fourth deals with cognition related to real, electronic and virtual environments, that is, cognitive aspects related to the various urban simulation models, while the fifth part concentrates on planning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplex Artificial Environments
Subtitle of host publicationSimulation, Cognition and VR in the Study and Planning of Cities
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)3540259171, 9783540259176
StatePublished - 2006


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