Jay Forrester
Jay Forrester pioneered the field of system dynamics—the use of computer simulations to model complex systems and interactions. One of the areas that he and his colleagues at MIT tackled was urban dynamics—the behaviour and sometimes surprising interactions of the various policies and processes that shape a city. Forrester’s dedication to clear mental models and rigorous computer simulations produced an early and influential real-world use of computer intelligence.

After publishing Urban Dynamics in 1969, he expanded his work to a global scale, tackling issues of world economy, population and the environment in World Dynamics, published in 1971. Here, he notably predicts the collapse of our socio-technological-natural system by the mid-21st century. In addition to influencing a generation of urban planners and computer scientists, Forrester has been cited by game designer Will Wright as one of the main inspirations behind the urban simulation video game, SimCity

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Computer output of Urban Dynamic simulation, published in Urban Dynamics, 1969

World 2 Model, 1971 (redrawn by Arnaud Mignan, 2020)