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Why do ghettos form in a tolerant society? Schelling's model and the introduction of cellular automata

Anna Baczko-Dombi; Agata Komendant-Brodowska

In this course we start from the problem of spatial segregation with its specific mechanisms is a fascinating example of a macroscale social phenomena which is not only a simple sum of individual actions - if we compare it with answers for survey questions about level of tolerance (which base on individual declarations), they cannot be translated in an easy way into results on maps. It shows that there is a need for a tool which could help us understand the underlying mechanisms of spatial segregation. Then agent based models that focus on dynamics of agents in a certain physical space - called spatial models, namely cellular automata - are introduced. We are starting from Thomas Schelling’s segregation model, then - in week two - more examples of cellular automata - game of life, forest fire. Learners are also trying to translate one model into another and bring models closer to reality. At the end we came back to Schelling's model, and advantages associated with dynamic approach to spatial segregation topic. For all of that we will use examples, animations and simple tools - no mathematical and programming skills are required!

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