Planning within Complex Urban Systems  book cover
1st Edition

Planning within Complex Urban Systems

ISBN 9780367346133
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
318 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Imagine living in a city where people could move freely and buildings could be replaced at minimal cost. Reality cannot be further from such. Despite this imperfect world in which we live, urban planning has become integral and critical especially in the face of rapid urbanization in many developing and developed countries. This book introduces the axiomatic/experimental approach to urban planning and addresses the criticism of the lack of a theoretical foundation in urban planning.

With the rise of the complexity movement, the book is timely in its depiction of cities as complex systems and explains why planning from within is useful in the face of urban complexity. It also includes policy implications for the Chinese cities in the context of axiomatic/experimental planning theory.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Basic Concepts 3. Urban Complexity within Cities 4. Urban Complexity across Cities 5. Planning Behavior 6. Planning Effects 7. Applications 8. Synthesis. Epilogue. Notes. Index.

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Shih-Kung Lai received his PhD in regional planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990 and taught at the Department of Real Estate and Built Environment at National Taipei University, Taiwan for 25 years. He is now affiliated with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, Shanghai, China and serves as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Urban Management. His research interests include urban complexity and planning behavior.


This book offers a great intellectual contribution to two strands of literature: urban planning theory and urban complexity theory. The author has made an original effort to merge these two perspectives, based on modern insights into the dynamic interconnectivity among actors in the ever changing urban space. This book – a remarkable landmark in urban planning science – is a delight to read.’ ─ Peter Nijkamp, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands

"There is little doubt that cities are complex systems but so is the process of planning. What Shih-Kung Lai manages to do in this book is weave the themes of complexity in cities and complexity in planning into one another. Using simple algebras, he develops methods and experiments to build an all-encompassing approach to how we should plan our cities. Important reading for all those concerned with how we go about exploring our urban future."Michael Batty, CASA, University College London