Urban Complexity and Planning: Theories and Computer Simulations (Hardback) book cover

Urban Complexity and Planning

Theories and Computer Simulations

By Shih-Kung Lai, Haoying Han

© 2014 – Routledge

284 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780754679189
pub: 2014-03-28

About the Book

In recent years, there has been a new understanding of how cities evolve and function, which reflects the emergent paradigm of complexity. The crux of this view is that cities are created by differentiated actors involved in individual, small-scale projects interacting in a complex way in the urban development process. This 'bottom up' approach to urban modeling not only transforms our understanding of cities, but also improves our capabilities of harnessing the urban development process. For example, we used to think that plans control urban development in an aggregate, holistic way, but what actually happens is that plans only affect differentiated actors in seeking their goals through information. In other words, plans and regulations set restrictions or incentives of individual behaviour in the urban development process through imposing rights, information, and prices, and the analysis of the effects of plans and regulations must take into account the complex urban dynamics at a disaggregate level of the urban development process. Computer simulations provide a rigorous, promising analytic tool that serves as a supplement to the traditional, mathematical approach to depicting complex urban dynamics. Based on the emergent paradigm of complexity, the book provides an innovative set of arguments about how we can gain a better understanding of how cities emerge and function through computer simulations, and how plans affect the evolution of complex urban systems in a way distinct from what we used to think they should. Empirical case studies focus on the development of a compact urban hierarchy in Taiwan, China, and the USA, but derive more generalizable principles and relationships among cities, complexity, and planning.


’Another great book from Asia's most prominent urban complexity scholar. Learn from the elegant models and reflect on what they say about the cities we live and work in; or look beyond the models and re-think urban theory and practice.’ Chris Webster, The University of Hong Kong, China 'It opens new windows on planning and design and provides new tools that will surely be helpful for all those, theorists and practitioners, working in the broad field of urban and regional planning, and particularly in the field of Urban e-Planning'. International Journal of E-Planning Research 'The book provides many new angles for the re-examination of cities and planning simultaneously based on computer simulations'. Town Planning Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Michael Batty; Foreword, Lewis D. Hopkins; Preface; From organized anarchy to controlled structure: effects of planning on the garbage-can decision processes; Effects of planning on the garbage-can decision processes: a reformulation and extension; A spatial garbage-can model; An agent-based approach to comparing institutional and spatial changes in the self-organizing city; On traction rules of complex structures in one-dimensional cellular automata: some implications for urban change; Applying cellular automata to simulate spatial game interactions to investigate effects of planning; Planning for city safety and creativity: two metaphors; Emergent macro-structures of path-dependent location adoptions processes of firms; The formation of urban settlement systems: computer experiments and mathematical proofs of the increasing-returns approach to power law; Power law distribution of human settlements: an explanation based on increasing returns; A preliminary exploration on self-organized criticality of urban complex spatial systems; Planning in complex spatial and temporal systems: a simulation framework; Decision network: a planning tool for making multiple, linked decisions; Effectiveness of plans in the face of complexity; Index.

About the Authors

Dr Shih-Kung Lai is a lecturer in Real Estate and Built Environment at the National Taipei University, Taiwan, R. O. C. and Haoying Han is an Associate Professor in the Department of Land Management, Zhejiang University, China.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development