Handbook on Planning and Complexity


Handbook on Planning and Complexity

9781786439178 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Gert de Roo, Professor in Spatial Planning, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, Claudia Yamu, Department of Built Environment, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway and Christian Zuidema, Associate Professor in Environmental Planning, Department of Spatial Planning & Environment, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 78643 917 8 Extent: 416 pp
This Handbook shows the enormous impetus given to the scientific debate by linking planning as a science of purposeful interventions and complexity as a science of spontaneous change and non-linear development. Emphasising the importance of merging planning and complexity, this comprehensive Handbook also clarifies key concepts and theories, presents examples on planning and complexity and proposes new ideas and methods which emerge from synthesising the discipline of spatial planning with complexity sciences.

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Deepening the scientific debate on planning and complexity, this Handbook combines theoretical discussion about planning and governance with modelling complex behaviour in space and place. Linking planning and complexity as a way of understanding dynamic change and non-linear development within cities, it presents critical new insights on complex urban behaviour.

Building on the notion that cities have fractal-like structures, chapters look at their behaviour as complex adaptive systems, with co-evolving trajectories and transformative forces. The Handbook offers new perspectives, concepts, methods and tools for understanding the inter-relations between complexity and planning, including adaptive planning, non-linear types of rationality, governance and decision-making, and different methods of experimental learning.

Planning, complexity, urban studies and social geography scholars will appreciate the examples of complex urban behaviour and urban planning throughout the Handbook. This will also be an important read for modellers in urban development, urban policymakers and spatial planners.
Critical Acclaim
‘The editors have brought together leading and upcoming experts in planning and complexity to create this “state of the art” volume. It is wide-ranging, thought-provoking and comprehensive, covering the latest theoretical debates in planning and complexity, international and national applications, and even localized planning issues. It is a “must-read” for anyone working in planning and complexity and will undoubtedly be a benchmark for the next wave of works on planning and complexity and policymaking in general.’
– Robert Geyer, Lancaster University, UK

‘This excellent collection of chapters makes a direct contribution to understanding how planning interventions can interact with, and rise above, the self-organizing forces of complexity and uncertainty. The threads of governance, rationality, modelling, communication, contextualization and adaptability are interwoven across different chapters. By breaking down the divide between technical and political approaches, between theory and methods, the book is charged with positive energy and inspirational ideas to pursue more discursive and non-linear thinking in spatial planning.’
– Cecilia Wong, University of Manchester, UK

''This volume critically engages complexity thinking to identify possibilities for the reinvention of spatial planning as a meshwork of complementary mutual interrelations, purposeful interventions and subjective interactions. The book is an important source for scholars interested in pushing forward the frontiers of theoretical reasoning and practical modelling in the dynamic, non-linear world in which we live.''
– Jean Hillier, RMIT University, Australia

‘An excellent anthology linking the important new domain of complexity theory to urban and regional planning practice. De Roo and other contributors provide original insights into the wicked, messy, vague and dynamic problems that confront planners. A must-read for quantitative and qualitative city and regional planners, geographers, regional scientists, and anyone involved in spatial planning who wants to understand and model the way in which cities interact with each other in complex non-linear adaptive systems.’
– Richard LeGates, San Francisco State University, US

‘The most significant promise of using complexity theory in planning research is in the explicit search for alternative pathways to cope with the fallibility of “purposive planning strategies". The lens of complexity theory enables planning research to explore beyond linearity. This Handbook provides a unique oversight of the outcomes thus far.''
– Willem Salet, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Urban planning and complexity have been studied separately for the past four decades. However, there is a close relationship between spontaneous order that emerges from urban complexity and planned order that is brought about through planning. In this book, Gert de Roo, Claudia Yamu, and Christian Zuidema focus on the interaction between the two phenomena and shed new light on how urban complexity works and how we should deal with it. It is a must-read for those who are seriously concerned about planning theories in the twenty-first century.’
– Shih-Kung Lai, Tongji University, China
Contributors: E.R. Alexander, Y. Asami, M. Batty, R. Beunen, B. Boonstra, S.D. Campbell, S. Cozzolino, M. Duineveld, S. Eräranta, N. Frantzeskaki, T. Ishikawa, W. Jager, D. Loorbach, S. Moroni, C. Perrone, J. Portugali, W. Rauws, N.A. Salingaros, K. Van Assche, A. van Nes, S. Verweij, T. Von Wirth, M. Zellner,


1. Introducing Planning and Complexity
Gert de Roo

2. Complexity, Institutions and Institutional Design
Ernest R. Alexander

3. A Multi-level Rationality Model for Planning Behaviour
Gert de Roo & Camilla Perrone

4. Post-contingency: considering Complexity as a Matter of Choice
Christian Zuidema

5. Adaptive Planning and the Capacity to Perform in Moments of Change
Gert de Roo, Ward Rauws and Christian Zuidema

6. Rationalities for Adaptive Planning to address Uncertainties
Gert de Roo, Ward Rauws and Christian Zuidema

7. Strategy in Complexity: the Shaping of Communities and Environments
Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Martijn Duineveld

8. Social Complexities in Collaborative Planning Processes
Susa Eräranta

9. Conditions of Actions in Complex Social-Spatial Systems
Stefano Moroni and Stefano Cozzolino

10. Information Adaptation as the Link between Cognitive Planning and Professional Planning
Juval Portugali

11. Self-organization and Spatial Planning in the Face of the European Refugee Crisis
Beitske Boonstra

12. Urban Living Labs as Inter-boundary Spaces for Sustainability Transitions?
Timo Von Wirth, Niki Frantzeskaki and Dirk Loorbach

13. Planning with(in) Complexity: Pathways to Extend Planning with Complex Systems Modelling
Moira Zellner and Scott D. Campbell

14. Simplification and Spatial Thinking in the Modeling and Planning of Complex Urban Environments
Toru Ishikawa and Yashushi Asami

15. Complexity in Design: Optimal Location through Spatial Averaging
Michael Batty

16. A Multiscale Approach in Regional and Urban Planning Strategies
Claudia Yamu and Akkelies van Nes

17. Qualitative Comparative Analysis for Analyzing Spatial Planning Processes
Stefan Verweij and Christian Zuidema

18. Planning, Complexity, and Welcoming Spaces: The Case of Campus Design
Nikos A. Salingaros

19. Simulating Community Dynamics for Transitional Urban Planning Processes
Wander Jager and Claudia Yamu

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