About Aesop’s Thematic Working Group
The aim of the group is to contribute to the creation and maintenance of a network of lecturers and researchers, who are willing to explore and debate new developments influencing both planning theory and practice in the light of non-linearity, complexity, complexity thinking and complex systems.
The first number of workshops were dedicated to explore the theory of complexity (Vienna, Reading, Cardiff, Mexico City, Cambridge). Later on the relationships between complexity and planning became central (Stuttgart, Tessalonici). At the Milan workshop the focus was prevalently the one of methods and tools, which are able to support the treatment of complex systems in the field of planning. In Istanbul 2011 the issue was ‘self-organization’. The forthcoming meeting in Groningen, The Netherlands, will be on complexity, spatial planning and the collaborative rationale.
Roo, G. de & E.A. Silva (eds) (2010) A Planner’s Encounter with Complexity, Ashgate Farnham, UK
Spatial planning is about dealing with our 'everyday' environment. In A Planner's Encounter with Complexity we present various understandings of complexity and how the environment is considered accordingly. One of these considerations is the environment as subject to processes of continuous change, being either progressive or destructive, evolving non-linearly and alternating between stable and dynamic periods. If the environment that is subject to change is adaptive, self-organizing, robust and flexible in relation to this change, a process of evolution and co-evolution can be expected. This understanding of an evolving environment is not mainstream to every planner. However, in A Planner's Encounter with Complexity, we argue that environments confronted with discontinuous, non-linear evolving processes might be more real than the idea that an environment is simply a planner's creation. Above all, we argue that recognizing the 'complexity' of our environment offers an entirely new perspective on our world and our environment, on planning theory and practice, and on the raison d'être of the planners that we are. A Planner's Encounter with Complexity is organized into 17 chapters. It begins with the interplay of planning and complexity from the perspective of contemporary planning theory. It continues by critically assessing planning theory and practice in the light of the interdisciplinary debate regarding complexity thinking. As the book progresses, it positions itself ever closer to the perspective of complexity thinking, looking at the planning discipline 'from the outside in', clarifying the facets of complexity and its importance in planning. Finally, conceptual and theoretical developments towards more applied examples are identified in order to see the interplay of planning and complexity in practice. This book emphasizes the importance of complexity in planning, clarifies many of the concepts and theories, presents examples on planning and complexity, and proposes new ideas and methods for planning.
Contents: Preface; Planning and complexity: an introduction, Gert de Roo; Being or becoming? That is the question! Confronting complexity with contemporary planning theory, Gert de Roo; Dealing with society's 'big messes', Jens-Peter Grunau and Walter L. Schönwandt; Complexity in spatial planning practice and theory: the case of Kiruna mining town, Kristina L. Nilsson; Complex systems, evolutionary planning?, Luca Bertolini; Complexity in city systems: understanding evolution and design, Michael Batty; Emergence, spatial order, transaction costs and planning, Chris Webster; Spatial planning processes: applying a dynamic complex systems perspective, Menno Huys and Marcel van Gils; The awakening of complexity in conceptualisations of space in planning, Janneke E. Hagens; Process and transient scenarios in collaborative planning: managing the time dimension, Adele Celino and Grazia Concilio; Complexity and cellular automaton: exploring its practical application, Elisabete A. Silva; Complexity and travel behaviour: modelling influence of social interactions on travellers' behaviour using a multi-agent simulation, Yos Sunitiyoso, Erel Avineri and Kiron Chatterjee; Complexity theory and transport planning: fractal traffic networks, Erel Avineri; Going beyond the metaphor of the machine: complexity and participatory ecological design, Joanne Tippett; Rethinking brownfields: discourses, networks and space-time, Nikos Karadimitriou, Joe Doak and Elisabete Cidre; Urban governance and social complexity, Joris van Wezemael; Waves of complexity: theory, models, and practice, Elisabete A. Silva; Index.
About the Editor: Professor Gert de Roo, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands and Dr Elisabete A. Silva Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, UK
Reviews: ‘The challenges of complexity to our understandings of and approaches to planning are increasingly hard to ignore. Complexity has moved beyond the heuristic to a cogent analysis of how people and places interact and is now exploring ways of conceiving, planning and governing space from spatial modelling to property rights. A Planner's Encounter with Complexity strikes a fine balance between an overview and contemporary research and is a must read for all those involved in place-making.’ Phil Allmendinger, University of Cambridge, UK ‘What is specifically interesting about A Planner's Encounter with Complexity is that while past studies have looked at planning from the perspective of complexity, this collection illuminates the various ways planners see complexity and the possible links between the two domains. This is an important step forward towards a fruitful discourse between the two domains out of which might emerge a complexity of theory of planning.’ Juval Portugali, Tel Aviv University, Israel ‘… this is an interesting and useful book that provides a decent overview of what planners think about complexity and what they are doing with it.’ Journal of Regional Science
Roo, G. de, J. Hillier, J.E. van Wezenmael (eds) (2012) Complexity & Planning: Systems, Assemblages and Simulations, Ashgate, Farnham, UK
Complexity, complex systems and complexity theories are becoming increasingly important within a variety disciplines. While these issues are less well known within the discipline of spatial planning, there has been a recent growing awareness and interest. As planners grapple with how to consider the vagaries of the real world when putting together proposals for future development, they question how complexity, complex systems and complexity theories might prove useful with regard to spatial planning and the physical environment. This book provides a readable overview, presenting and relating a range of understandings and characteristics of complexity and complex systems as they are relevant to planning. It recognizes multiple, relational approaches of dynamic complexity which enhance understandings of, and facilitate working with, contingencies of place, time and the various participants' behaviours. In doing so, it should contribute to a better understanding of processes with regard to our physical and social worlds.
Contents: Preface; Complexity and spatial planning: introducing systems, assemblages and simulations, Gert de Roo, Jean Hillier and Joris Van Wezemael; Part 1 Theoretical Reflections Bridging Complexity and Planning: Baroque complexity: 'if things were simple, word would have gotten round', Jean Hillier; Planning in complexity, Karen S. Christensen; Transformative practice as an exploration of possibility spaces, Joris E. Van Wezemael. Part 2 Complex Systems and Planning: In Between the Real and the Relative: Complex theories of cities: first, second or third culture of planning?, Juval Portugali; Spatial planning, complexity and a world 'out of equilibrium' – outline of a non-linear approach to planning, Gert de Roo; Complexity and transition management, Jan Rotmans, Derk Loorbach and René Kemp; Coevolutionary planning processes, Lasse Gerrits and Geert Teisman; Climate adaptation in complex governance systems: governance systems between inertia and adaptability, Arwin van Buuren, Sibout Nooteboom and Geert Teisman; Beyond blueprints? Complexity theory as a prospective influence for metropolitan governance, Cathy Wilkinson; Considering complex systems: the implications of the complexity frame of reference for planning, David Byrne. Part 3 Assemblage and a Relational Attitude to Planning: A different view of relational complexity. Imagining places through the Deleuzean social cartography, Valeria Monno; On the emergence of agency in participatory strategic planning, Jean Hillier and Joris E. Van Wezemael; population thinking in architecture, Peter Trummer; Coevolving adaptive and power networks: collective leadership for effective planning, Sibout Nooteboom and Jurian Edelenbos. Part 4 Simulating in Between the Real and the Ideal: The metaverse as lab to experiment with problems of organized complexity, Oswald Devisch; The use of agent-based modelling for studying the social ad physical environment of cities, Andrew Crooks; Building mega-models for megacities, Paul M. Torrenns; Index.
About the Editor: Gert De Roo, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands; Jean Hillier, Associate Dean,School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, Editor Planning Theory, RMIT University, Australia and Joris Van Wezemael, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Reviews: ‘Complexity theory is the wave of the future in planning thought. It helps us to see how things really work in cities and regions and provides a basis for rethinking the practice of planning for the 21st century. This collection of articles, each of which explores complexity in planning from a different perspective, advances the journey toward more insightful theory and more effective practice.’ Judith Innes, University of California Berkeley, USA, co-author of Planning with Complexity: An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality for the 21st Century ‘Complex adaptive systems are the stuff of life and culture. But it is a long way from such general statements to how things play out on the ground. This book provides the best guide yet to planning for that complexity.’ Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick, UK
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