Self-Organisation for Survival

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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In a dynamic or disruptive situation, such as disasters, a fully mobile and decentralized infrastructure-less network seems to be a viable option for communication. Citizens are confronted with challenges such as complicated deployment of these networks, resource-constrained mobile phones and mobility. This requires communication networks to adapt to these changing spatial-temporal-resource contexts. Additionally, mobile and immobile citizens stuck in impoverished, highly populated areas, so-called ‘islands of inequity’ where often initial infrastructure is missing need to be able to connect with disaster response teams requiring hybrid communication approaches. In this thesis, the right to communicate and remain connected is considered the core of the design process. To serve this purpose the thesis focuses on investigating values that can be delivered with the design of a resilient communication network. This involves defining values of "participatory fairness", "inclusion" and "continuity". The main research question addressed by this thesis is:

How to design a value-based citizen-centric adaptive mobile communication system?

To answer this question, this thesis uses self-organization as an approach to design a decentralized context-aware mobile communication system for citizens that: (I) is robust, reliable and scalable; delivering all functional requirements; (II) fulfils the value of participatory fairness at the system level, and (III) seamlessly and automatically integrates with other available infrastructure for inclusive and continuous message delivery for all phones despite energy disparities and varied population densities of a disaster area. This thesis explores, for the first time, the effects of introducing a value-sensitive design approach for citizen-centric communication networks.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Brazier, F.M., Supervisor
  • Warnier, M.E., Supervisor
  • Helbing, D., Supervisor, External person
Award date23 Nov 2022
Place of PublicationDelft
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-618-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Self-organisation
  • Disaster response
  • Autonomic computing
  • Context-aware systems
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • value-sensitive design (VSD)
  • Mobile ad hoc networks
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Agent based modelling

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