Category Archives: 3rd Open GSS Conference

The III. Open Global Systems Science Conference – Brussels Program

On October 8-10, scholars and practitioners will meet in the US, China and Europe to share insights and discuss open questions about green growth. The three sub-events will be connected via Internet, and the conference as a whole shall help to develop the research needed to address global challenges like the one of green growth.
>More information about the GSS conference.

The Program of the sub-events in Brussels can be found here:
> Download Agenda_Brussels_Event

The III. Open Global System Science Conference – Call for Papers

Unpacking Green Growth
A Trans-Continental Conference

> Download Call for Paper (Pdf)

Hosted by:
Arizona State University
Development Research Center of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Global Climate Forum

October 8-10, 2014

Global Systems Science (GSS) is about providing global systems of interconnected solutions to global problems. This involves not only looking at the whole of our planet and its societies, but also looking at it from a transdisciplinary and transformative perspective that connects all kinds of scientific knowledge, and engaging as many people as possible in collective action. The concept of green growth has been proposed as one of the few globally distributed, innovative and engaging systemic solutions to our current global predicament.

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Inequality: global dynamics, public policies, and private initiatives – Call for papers (Draft)

Rising inequality has become a constant feature of contemporary economic growth in industrialized countries and a treat to social development.

The solutions developed in the last century to tackle inequality as the welfare state don’t show an impact anymore or have become unsustainable, while new solutions are emerging but are still ancillary.

This is the opposite trend to the improvements economic growth has brought to  human life standards for thousands of  years, and a growing concern to policy makers, researchers and society as a whole.

Contributions from all relevant disciplines (e.g. economics, political science, sociology) and practices that address the following questions are invited

  1. What are the structural changes (eg technological, institutional, cultural) explaining the recent increase of inequality in industrialized countries i.e. the West and Asia?  How is the rest of the world affected?
  2. What are the possible strategies to address the rise of inequality:

o   Critical review of past solutions eg welfare state service provision

o   Innovative solutions: public, private, civic or PPP, in both theory and practice

o   Paradigm change and narratives to challenge the status quo

Game group – Call for papers – 3rd GSS conference preparatory meeting

3rd GSS call for paper: Gaming group

 

Games and the act of playing is innate with human beings, they are global and universal across countries and cultures. We think that games can also be useful vehicles for Global Systems Science as, among others:

  • Tools for training and education,
  • Tools for communication of scientific results (i.e., vehicles for creating narratives),
  • Tools for behavioral experiments,
  • Tools for decision makers,
  • Enablers of citizen participation, or
  • Vehicles for finding crowd-sourced solutions.

 

In the GSS context, we use the term game to denote both computer/phone applications and more traditional forms of participatory entertainment (e.g., board games). Computer games may have the advantage of being scalable (potentially even at the national or global scale), easy to distribute and easy in the collection of results, but more the traditional types of games provide basic face-to-face interactions and the physical involvement that may help people to make personal commitments.

 

A gamification approach to problem solving and modeling is an appealing solution to understand people’s behavior, to understand dynamics in social contexts and to develop shared solutions to shared problems that can bring a more effective way to working with complex social systems.

 

The 3rd GSS conference calls for contributions in different dimensions of the gaming world. We call for paper contributions on topics including (but not limited to):

  • Tools, platforms and frameworks for GSS games
  • Challenges for GSS games (e.g., scaling, language issues, distribution and marketing, take-on, etc.)
  • Methods and insights about the “gamification” of existing scientific results, models and simulations
  • Success stories and lessons learned from GSS simulations
  • Social impacts of gamification (ethical or cultural dimensions)

 

The conference will also organize a live demo session where conference participants can play existing GSS games. Therefore, we also call for the submission of existing GSS games (in all forms and all domains, related to the GSS themes).

 

References

(To be provided by Nils)

 

K. Arai, H. Deguchi, H. Matsui (eds): Agent-Based Modeling Meets Gaming Simulation, Springer Series on Agent Based Social Systems, Volume 2, 2005.

 

Guyot, Paul and Honiden, Shinichi (2006). ‘Agent-Based Participatory Simulations: Merging Multi-Agent Systems and Role-Playing Games’. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 9(4)8 <http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/4/8.html>.

 

Colella, V. 2002. “Participatory Simulations: Building Collaborative Understanding Through Immersive Dynamic Modeling.” InCSCL2: Carrying forward the conversation, eds. T. Koschmann, R. Hall, and N. Miyake. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

 

Global City Systems and Informatics

Abstract

Cities have been studied for many years by a wide range of disciplines and professions, resulting in many large, isolated bodies of knowledge.  GSS brings the perspective that current challenges require this work to be strengthened along several lines:

  • Adopting global perspectives in the geographic, community and intellectual dimensions.
  • Overcoming the barriers to communication of the many professions and disciplines in order to create integrated knowledge of intra- and inter-urban systems.
  • Recognizing that cities do not exist in isolation, but are participants in many different networks, including environmental, cultural, economic, security, and other aspects.
  • Recognizing the many impacts of the Information Revolution on these aspects in both intra-urban and inter-urban systems.

We invite papers that address the changing futures of cities around the world under the influences of intensifying urbanization and the decline of hinterlands, the impacts of globalization on the local and global roles of cities, and the transformational impacts of Informatics on the design, operation, and governance of cities.  The role of Informatics in open governance is of particular interest.

These contributions may range from new, theoretical methods for understanding cities through to the application of GSS methods to practical problems in urban systems.  They may reflect the perspectives of communities including administrators, anthropologists, architects, computer scientists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, mathematicians, public health scientists, social scientists, and urbanists, among others.  Preference will be given to work that emphasises the trans-disciplinary nature of this field.

Sub-themes

CONCEPTUALISATION & COMMUNICATION: We see as a key goal for Global city Systems the unification of the perspectives, the bodies of knowledge, and the methods of the many academic and professional communities that study cities.  This is a highly challenging goal.  We believe that it can be advanced through a new conceptualization of the principles of cities that will permit each community to understand how its perspectives, its body of knowledge, and its methods relate to those of other communities.

We invite papers reporting on proposals for new conceptual models of cities and experiments in developing communication and consensus building among academic and professional communities or among communities of citizens, particularly in the following ways:

  • Extending the methods of the Natural Sciences to deal with the kind of unstructured information often employed in the Social Sciences, for example narratives.
  • Extending the methods of the Social Sciences through hierarchical abstractions that enable common patterns of urban behaviour to be distilled from the unique behaviours manifest in any given location.
  • Employing denormalised environments, such as game playing, to allow participants drawn from a variety of academic or professional communities to step out of their habitual frames of reference and jointly explore a (fictional) challenge.
  • Employing or jointly developing narratives with citizen communities to build consensus among citizens from varying cultural, economic, and geographic backgrounds in open planning processes.
  • Extending such methods through the use of Informatics to improve bi-directional transparency between municipal governments and citizens and to allow the participation of very large numbers of citizens in on-line planning processes (based on games).

FORMAL DESCRIPTIONS AT MICRO-MESO-MACRO SCALES:   If an integrated conceptual framework for the cities can be developed as above, a second GSS task will be to develop archetypes for the detailed description of the life of cities at various spatial and temporal scales.  Such archetypes will cover the dynamics of the city at timescales from seconds to decades and spatial scales from meters to some tens or hundreds of kilometers.

These archetypes can then be applied to specific cities by applying the unique features such as topology, history, natural environment, demographics, economics, and so forth.  A variety of modeling and simulation methods will be required as well as modeling frameworks that permit the integration of models covering the range of spatio-temporal scales.  The initialization and calibration of these models will require the collection of defined data sets of standardized measurements.

We invite papers that describe approaches to integrated, multiple scale modeling of cities and regions including:

  • Templates for multi-scale modeling of cities
  • Data standards for the representation of cities at various spatio-temporal scales
  • Frameworks for the integration of models based on a variety of techniques, e.g. Systems Dynamics and Multi-Agent simulation, and a variety of scales.
  • Examples of the example of multi-scale modeling to specific cities.

URBANIZATION  –By urbanization we mean the net flow of people from the hinterlands of agricultural regions and smaller towns and cities into the larger, sometimes new cities.  This phenomenon is producing waves of transformation in regions around the world.  The large-scale expansion of existing cities and the creation of new cities in Asia, particularly in China is well known as that country completes its massive transition from an agricultural to a mixture of industrial and post-industrial economies.  Less obvious, but no less challenging is the decline of cities and regions in Western countries as populations concentrate around a small number of large cities such as London and Tokyo and as the declining cities experience rapidly ageing demographic distributions.

Informatics is a primary enabler of globalization and of many of the new areas for innovation that are drivers for urbanization and hence plays a key role in these structural changes.  Informatics also changes the “connectedness” of the individual to a place.  Many enterprise employees work in the virtual spaces of the company’s globally-distributed facilities and those of its suppliers and of its customers.  They are just as connected to colleagues in the same building as to those on the far side of the planet.  On the other hand, for many needs, they are closely connected to their physical location.  Examples exist of “US employees” who prefer to live in Tokyo and are perfectly able to discharge their US duties.  To some degree telecommuting can also work against densification by allowing workers to live in urban sprawl without paying the penalty of time-consuming commuting.

We invite papers reporting on studies of urbanization particularly in the following ways:

  • Identifying tipping points for the irreversible collapse of declining cities and regions.
  • Identifying changes in the structural patterns of dominant cities and the surrounding regions and smaller cities.
  • Studying approaches to stabilize or reverse the decline of subordinate cities and regions.
  • Studying possible end points of urbanization indicating possible limits to size, forces opposing urbanization.
  • Assessing the impacts of virtual workplaces and of global industrial ecosystems on the structural patterns of cities and regions.

SUSTAINABILITY:  Although many smart city initiatives employ Urban Informatics to produce incremental improvements in resource consumption (water, energy) or in exploiting the theoretical capacities of municipal services (transportation, social care, and so forth), little attention has been given to the transformational potential of Urban Informatics.  The utilities and other services of cities are still designed and operated on the 19th century principles of industrialization:  large-scale, closed, centralized means of production delivering a good into a one-way distribution network without dialogue with the consumers.

Progress in Informatics and the encapsulation of design and operational management methods supports a transformation into a 21st century model based on open, small-scale, highly distributed means of production that is embedded in the distribution network and tightly integrated with the consumers.  Such post-industrial approaches may offer greater resilience, greater support for closed-cycle resource consumption, greater opportunities for small and medium sized “green” enterprises, and the ability to gain efficiency by closely tailoring production to consumption in real-time.

Urban Informatics can also support communities in evolving norms for resource and service capacity consumption using methods such as gaming and online interaction as described above,

We invite papers reporting on proposals and experiments for the application of Informatics to transformational approaches to the provision and consumption of utility and municipal services including but not limited to:

  • Electricity and other forms of energy
  • Domestic and industrial water
  • Collective and individual transportation
  • ICT infrastructure
  • Public safety
  • Public health
  • Social services

GOVERNANCE:  Examples above (communication, gaming, norming) show that Informatics can play a valuable role in enabling distributed participation of citizens in urban policy- and decision-making.  It is hoped that this will foster increased transparency and trust in the relationships among policy-makers, administrators, and citizens.  The increasing roles of information in our lives in general and in urban living in particular reveal the need for careful governance of information itself.  Informatics therefore offer new possibilities in the spatio-temporal scales and the bi-lateral or multi-lateral roles  that should be explored.

We invite papers reporting on theoretical or practical studies of the application of Informatics to new intra- and inter-urban governance models including but not limited to the following aspects:

  • Intra-, Inter-urban dynamics
  • Short-term, long-term planning
  • Bottom-up, top-down approaches
  • Open/closed approaches (Open Data)

Scientific References

  • Jacobs, Jane. The death and life of great American cities. Random House Digital, Inc., 1961.
  • Alexander, Christopher, A city is not tree, Architectural Forum 122 April (1965): No. 1, pages 58-61 and No. 2, pages 58-62.  Reprinted in: Design After Modernism,  Edited by John Thackara, Thames and Hudson, London, 1988; and in: Human Identity in the Urban Environment,  Edited by G. Bell and J. Tyrwhitt, Penguin, 1992.
  • Yang, Xiaokai, and Robert Rice. “An equilibrium model endogenizing the emergence of a dual structure between the urban and rural sectors, Journal of Urban Economics”, 35.3 (1994): 346-368.
  • Batty, Michael. “The size, scale, and shape of cities.”, science  319.5864 (2008): 769-771.
  • Harrison, Colin et al., Foundations for Smarter Cities, IBM Journal of Research and Development, vol. 54, no. 4, paper 1, July/August 2010
  • Bettencourt, Luís MA. “The origins of scaling in cities.”, science 340.6139 (2013): 1438-1441

Draft of call for papers on agent-based models for GSS (GSS Conference 2014)

The intention of this session is to address how agent based models can generate new insight for global systems. In this perspective we invite contributions with different applications, methodological approaches and programming tools.

This session aims at understanding how to face challenges arising from global interactions. With regard to governance issues it is interesting to look at how different policy decisions influence the outcome of geographically interrelated regions. From a global systems science perspective we are interested in (however, not limited to) the following application areas 1) Interactions between geographical, economic, social and environmental systems, 2) Economic and social challenges arising from climate change mitigation, 3) Disaster response and crowd simulations related to climate change adaptation and 4) Immigration patterns and related economic and social outcomes.

From a methodological point of view two points should be addressed by the contributions to this session. First, in order to gain insights for policy making and governance, the agent-based models need to be assessed with empirical data. Therefore, questions of estimation, calibration and validation arise. Second, the question of the appropriate level of aggregation to explain the system and problem modeled needs to be addressed.

Tools that are used by different disciplines and often used not only by computer scientists, one of the aims is to establish an open source shared platform for different agent-based models that allows for sharing and reusing code. Moreover, there is the need for tools that allow scholars to build efficient large scale models as well as tools for analyzing the model behavior.