Analysis of an urban energy metabolic system: Comparison of simple and complex model results

Zhang, Y., Li, S., Fath, B.D. ORCID:, Yang, Z., & Yang, N. (2011). Analysis of an urban energy metabolic system: Comparison of simple and complex model results. Ecological Modelling 223 (1) 14-19. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.08.005.

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A fundamental difference between simple and complex systems is how the research objects are subdivided to support different study purposes. Based on a comparison between two urban energy system models - one with 5 and the other with 17 sectors - we concluded that the two models were most similar in terms of their description of the overall system structure and most different in terms of their description of specific intra-system relationships. The smaller number of system components and relationships in the 5-sector model facilitated judgments of the system's overall situation, thereby revealing where the key problems were found. In contrast, the 17-sector model provided enough details about the system to assist in the formulation of concrete operational measures to solve specific problems. Our results indicate that the division of a model into sectors should depend on the explicit problem to be solved and the context for that problem; different goals will require different numbers of system components. The results also demonstrate how simple and complex models can be used in tandem to examine a system from different perspectives.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Model selection; Urban energy metabolism; Systems analysis; Ecological network analysis
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Modelling; 223(1):14-19 (24 December 2011) (Published online 3 September 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:21

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