In the 1960s Schelling devised a simple model in which a mixed group of people spontaneously segregates by race even though no one in the population desires that outcome. Initially, black and white families are randomly distributed. At each step in the modeling process the families examine their immediate neighborhood and either stay put or move elsewhere depending on whether the local racial composition suits their preferences. The procedure is repeated until everyone finds a satisfactory home (or until the simulator’s patience is exhausted).
Via Bernard Ryefield, Complexity Digest