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Complexity - Complex Systems Theory
Complex systems present problems both in mathematical modelling and philosophical foundations. The study of complex systems represents a new approach to science that investigates how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment. The equations from which models of complex systems are developed generally derive from statistical physics, information theory and non-linear dynamics, and represent organized but unpredictable behaviors of natural systems that are considered fundamentally complex. wikipedia (en)
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Zipf's Law for All the Natural Cities around the World (v2)

Zipf's Law for All the Natural Cities around the World (v2) | Complexity - Complex Systems Theory | Scoop.it

Two fundamental issues surrounding research on Zipf's law regarding city sizes are whether and why this law holds. This paper does not deal with the latter issue with respect to why, and instead investigates whether Zipf's law holds in a global setting, thus involving all cities around the world. Unlike previous studies, which have mainly relied on conventional census data, and census- bureau-imposed definitions of cities, we adopt naturally and objectively delineated cities, or natural cities, to be more precise, in order to examine Zipf's law. We find that Zipf's law holds remarkably well for all natural cities at the global level, and remains almost valid at the continental level except for Africa at certain time instants. We further examine the law at the country level, and note that Zipf's law is violated from country to country or from time to time. This violation is mainly due to our limitations; we are limited to individual countries, or to a static view on city-size distributions. The central argument of this paper is that Zipf's law is universal, and we therefore must use the correct scope in order to observe it.We further find Zipf's law applied to city numbers: the number of cities in individual countries follows an inverse power relationship; the number of cities in the first largest country is twice as many as that in the second largest country, three times as many as that in the third largest country, and so on.

 

 

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The spatial meaning of Pareto's scaling exponent of city-size distribution

The scaling exponent of a hierarchy of cities used to be regarded as a fractal parameter. The Pareto exponent was treated as the fractal dimension of size distribution of cities, while the Zipf exponent was treated as the reciprocal of the fractal dimension. However, this viewpoint is not exact. In this paper, I will present a new interpretation of the scaling exponent of rank-size distributions. The ideas from fractal measure relation and the principle of dimension consistency are employed to explore the essence of Pareto's and Zipf's scaling exponents. The Pareto exponent proved to be a ratio of the fractal dimension of a network of cities to the average dimension of city population. Accordingly, the Zipf exponent is the reciprocal of this dimension ratio. On a digital map, the Pareto exponent can be defined by the scaling relation between a map scale and the corresponding number of cities based on this scale. The cities of the United States of America in 1900, 1940, 1960, and 1980 and Indian cities in 1981, 1991, and 2001 are utilized to illustrate the geographical spatial meaning of Pareto's exponent. The results suggest that the Pareto exponent of city-size distribution is not a fractal dimension, but a ratio of the urban network dimension to the city population dimension. This conclusion is revealing for scientists to understand Zipf's law and fractal structure of hierarchy of cities.

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Zipf's Law for All the Natural Cities around the World

Two fundamental issues surrounding research on Zipf's law regarding city sizes are whether and why Zipf's law holds. This paper does not deal with the latter issue with respect to why, and instead investigates whether Zipf's law holds in a global setting, thus involving all cities around the world. Unlike previous studies, which have mainly relied on conventional census data, and census- bureau-imposed definitions of cities, we adopt naturally and objectively delineated cities, or natural cities, to be more precise, in order to examine Zipf's law. We find that Zipf's law holds remarkably well for all natural cities at the global level, and remains almost valid at the continental level except for Africa at certain time instants. We further examine the law at the country level, and note that Zipf's law is violated from country to country or from time to time. This violation is mainly due to our limitations; we are limited to individual countries, and to a static view on city-size distributions. The central argument of this paper is that Zipf's law is universal, and we therefore must use the correct scope in order to observe it. We further find that this law is reflected in the distribution of cities: the number of cities in individual countries follows an inverse power relationship; the number of cities in the first largest country is twice as many as that in the second largest country, three times as many as that in the third largest country, and so on.
Keywords: Cities, night-time imagery, city-size distributions, head/tail breaks, big data

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