From Batty to Wegener, academics have identified several challenges facing current urban modelling paradigms that limit their wider operational use by urban planners. Some of these challenges include:
(1) relying too much on the extrapolation of past trends,
(2) searching mainly for stable equilibrium,
(3) focusing too much on observed behaviours and preferences,
(4) prioritizing lengthy calibration and details.
This situation has led to a recent paradigm shift in urban modelling, based on four principles:
(1) theory-based generative modelling rather than extrapolation,
(2) constraint-led rather than preference-driven modelling,
(3) plausibility analysis rather than predictive modelling and finally
(4) back-casting rather than forecasting.
In order to be useful to urban planners, this new generation of models needs to address key characteristics of modern urban planning:
(1) the complexity of urban processes and their responses to policies,
(2) the multi-dimensional nature of urban planning's focus and outcomes,
(3) the necessity to deliver plausible futures for cities and
(4) the increasing demand for participative policy-making in democratic societies.
We invite original research papers addressing one (or several) of the aforementioned challenges, principles or characteristics.