The Concept of Ecological Rationality and Its Application to Spatial Planning

  • Carlo RegaEmail author
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


In this chapter, we address the different forms of rationality drawing from insights of political science. Five main forms of rationality are examined––technical, economic, legal, social and political—and their relevance for spatial planning is discussed. The main limitations of such forms of rationality are analysed. We then describe the main characteristics of ecosystems and landscapes drawing from system theory and identify their key emerging properties—interdependence, complexity, self-organization, openness, adaptation, homeostasis, resilience, diversity and creation of order. The concept of Ecological Rationality—informed by such principles—is introduced and discussed. This can be defined as a form of thinking about actions, organizations and ultimate ends or values with a solid foundation on the science of ecology. Holism is its epistemological principle at the very foundation of this form of rationality.


Ecological Rationality Holism Ecosystems Emerging properties Homeostasis Self-organization Resilience 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ITERAS - Research Centre for Sustainability and Territorial InnovationBariItaly

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