Models of Segregation

"The interplay of individual choices, where unorganised segregation is concerned, is a complex system with collective results that bear no close relation to individual intent."
-- Thomas Schelling

This is a reproduction of Thomas Schelling's seminal 1969 work using agent based modelling with coffeescript, D3.js, and HTML.

In it, a system is populated with red and blue agents. Neither agent type is racist - both simply have a slight preference (55%) for their neighbourhood to be populated with similar types of agents. All that is required for complete segreation is the application of two rules:

  1. Agents are happy if their neighbourhood exceeds their composition preference.
  2. When they are unhappy, they move to a random new location.

What the simulation demonstrates is that segregation (or any system level behaviour) is not necessarily the result of individual intent.

Click on the simulation to start / stop it.

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