Dynamics and complexity of the Schelling segregation model

Eric Goles y Sergio Rica

In this paper we consider the Schelling social segregation model for two different populations. In Schelling’s model, segregation appears as a consequence of discrimination, measured by the local difference between two populations. For that, the model defines a tolerance criterion on the neighborhood of an individual, indicating wether the individual is able to move to a new place or not. Next, the model chooses which of the available unhappy individuals really moves. In our work, we study the patterns generated by the dynamical evolution of the Schelling model in terms of various parameters or the initial condition, such as the size of the neighborhood of an inhabitant, the tolerance, and the initial number of individuals. As a general rule we observe that segregation patterns minimize the interface of zones of different people. In this context we introduce an energy functional associated with the configuration which is a strictly decreasing function for the tolerant people case. Moreover, as far as we know, we are the first to notice that in the case of a non-strictly-decreasing energy functional, the system may segregate very efficiently.