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Complexity and the City

Bird's eye vew of roadway
Cities worldwide are well known to be living laboratories to experiment on modeling, characterization, optimization, and control of complex systems. Complex phenomena, in fact, evolve within cities with multiple and intertwined space and time scales, yielding emerging behaviors whose explanation is never simple. Moreover, cities encompass networked systems very often overlapped or stacked in layers: information, transportation, power grids, epidemics, pedestrians, are just a few examples of such networks. To address the complexity of urban systems, a broad range of interdisciplinary topics should be covered that touch on issues from the network science, cyber–physical systems, to policy and finance perspectives in smart cities.

This special issue aims to collect contributions aiming at modeling, characterizing, optimizing, and controlling complex and networked systems, with a particular focus on urban environments. 

Topics of interest include but are not limited to theoretical aspects, algorithms, methods, and fields of applications, such as: 

  • Epidemic spreading
  • Social networks
  • Information and misinformation spreading 
  • Pedestrian dynamics and human behavior in cities
  • Transportation networks and urban mobility
  • Complexity of urban IoT systems 
  • City monitoring strategies and techniques 
  • Urban planning 
  • Citizen science experiments 
  • Financial systems 
  • Diffusion of policies


Lead guest editor
Alessandro Rizzo, Politecnico di Torino, Italy 

Guest editors
Luca Maria Aiello, Nokia Bell Labs, UK
Amin Anjomshoaa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Elsa Arcaute, University College London, UK
Neal Zachary, Michigan State University, USA


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