Countering Urban Segregation in Brazilian Cities: Policy-oriented Explorations Using Agent-based Simulation


Flávia F. Feitosa (
Quang Bao Le (
Paul L.G. Vlek (
Antônio Miguel V. Monteiro (
Roberta Rosemback (


The development of urban policies appropriate to the current challenges posed by climate and environmental changes demands a more accurate understanding of social and ecological processes governing the urban system, and must rely on the mobilization of professionals from different fields of knowledge. To advance in this direction, we propose the adoption of mediation strategies able to ‘cross boundaries’ between disciplines, between science and policy, and between science and society. As a starting point, it is important to establish boundary concepts, i.e., words and concepts that have been adopted by different disciplines, with negotiable meanings, which allow different parts to discuss on the multidimensionality of issues of common interest. For studies dealing with the relation between nature and society, we show how the term ‘vulnerability’ has assumed a strategic position as boundary concept. In addition, in order to subsidize planning strategies, boundary concepts should be materialized as boundary objects that allow us to act in situations of uncertainty and divergent interests. This article presents computer simulation models as promising boundary objects, which allow users to share insights and experiences and enable an ‘empirical’ exploration of processes that are inherent to vulnerability dynamics.

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