Complexity & Planning: Systems, Assemblages and Simulations

Published at: 24 June 2012

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 I 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 II 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 III 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 IV 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 and 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

Complexity & Planning: Systems, Assemblages and Simulations