Complex Artificial Environments

  • Juval PortugaliEmail author
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


As we have seen above, complexity theories have developed in the sciences and with respect to natural phenomena and then at a later stage were applied to cities. We have further seen that the various applications to cities are based on analogies that can be made between natural phenomena and processes and urban phenomena and processes. But the validity of these analogies is only partial as cities are not natural entities; they differ from the latter in a fundamental twofold respect: first, each city is an artifact. Second, the parts of cities and of similar artificial systems at large, cannot be likened to the atoms and molecules of the Bénard experiment, not to light waves in the LASER, nor to the sand grains of self-organized criticality: each has mind, brain, memory, aims, plans and each is acting and behaving as a result of these aims in an unpredictable way; in short, each of the parts of cities is itself a complex self-organizing system.


Social Theory Complexity Theory Pattern Language Natural Entity Space Syntax 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Geography and the Human EnvironmentTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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