Playing with Worlds

  • Fiction

If we must play with toy worlds to see if we can mimic the “natural condition” of Hobbes, it is good to see whether our ambitions run into obstacles, Mr. Sum thought. I discuss how I proceeded.

I started by choosing a geographic area that is composed of a number of (for the time being equal) patches of land with a number of (for the time being equal) residents. I chose a world of 3,969 plots of land with 1024 inhabitants. I assume that the way a natural configuration can be made must have a dual perspective: geographic and infrastructural. It would be obvious to let chance determine from where a resident starts the game. But that would lead to a distribution that does not correspond to our experiences of historically developed spatial arrangements. The network structures that have grown in these processes resemble what arises when a mechanism called “preferential attachment” is applied. The result for my playing field under construction is in the left picture in Fig. 1. Because the mechanism used works from the center, on the outside there are mainly the residents (‘rural people’, black) who have a limited amount of contacts compared to the ‘townspeople’ (green).

In the middle picture of Fig. 1, a new architecture has been created for the rural network. The aim is to have a limited average number of connections for rural residents. It is clear that for that part of the network a forest fire rather than a logistical architecture is created.

The picture on the right is identical to the one in the middle, except that the “hubs” are marked in red. Hubs are of great importance for an effective logistics architecture.

FIG. 2 presents the panel of the Netlogo program that shows the structure of the initial situation. At the bottom right are two plots in which histograms of the numbers of connections that the uban (left) and the rural people (right) have. Those distributions tell their own stories.

Fig. 2 A network with a hybrid architecture