Christopher Shughrue, MESc

2012 TRI Fellow in India

Urban Clusters in India: Regional Growth as a System of Cities


There is growing evidence that urban patterns emerge on regional scales, including the phenomenon of scaling laws. While most previous work has attempted to quantify these emergent properties, little work has been done to explore which dynamics are necessary to explain the emergence of bulk phase properties, and the systemic impact of social and economic factors on the expression of those dynamics. The approach taken by this project is to develop a dynamical model that represents the mechanics of urbanization as informed by field surveys. In the model, I will represent decisions made by key actors and institutions in the urban system using adaptive economic and heuristic algorithms. The model will be validated using historical economic, demographic, and remotely sensed spatial data. Control parameters relating to social and economic behavior will be varied systematically to elucidate which conditions are necessary for emergent patterns to be expressed from the underlying dynamics. The objectives of this study are: to identify how social factors influence the connectivity of cities, and to use these findings to explore the generalizability of scaling laws in urban systems.