Abstract: In nature, objects formed from a dynamics on one level often form yet new objects and new dynamics on a new level. This process generates a hierarchical organization of nature that is particularly tall for objects that are of biological or human origin. This begs the question of what the ordering principle responsible for the formation of new levels in such hierarchies is. For biological systems external Darwinian adaptation is invoked while internal teleological adaptation is typically viewed as being responsible for objects of human origin. Over the last decades an evolutionary approach to social sciences and in particular economics has seen an upswing. The ?biological analogy? dates back to the dawn of evolutionary biology and economics but it has proved hard to ?cash in? on. The advent of computer technology has however changed this and today the complexity of technologic, economic and social systems can be addressed more directly. In this thesis a hierarchical perspective is presented where the problems of including internal adaptation in scientific models is emphasized and Darwinian evolution is proposed as a universal ordering principle for the entire hierarchical structure of adaptive phenomena of the world. In this framework urban systems are discussed as being largely non-adaptive structures formed from an underlying adaptive process of primarily firms and persons as well as mental representations of these objects. This puts the work presented in the enclosed articles in a broader model ontological perspective which allows for an improved picture of the place and role of models in general and these models and their possible extensions in particular.
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