Self-organization and Spatial Planning :The foundations, the challenge, the constraints and the consequences

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Spatial Planning and self-organization: A perhaps somewhat unexpected combination of these two themes, one being a collective manifestation of intent, the other representing a spontaneous phenom Nevertheless this combination is recently getting serious attention by the planning community. There are a few empirical incentives such as the spontaneous but devastating global housing, mortgage and financial crisis which are a challenge since 2008 to critically assess traditional practices and to develop alternative strategies. The repeating failures of large planning projects are another trigger. These projects cannot be treated as isolated activities, as the planning community is confronted with a highly interconnected world which evolves through unprecedented non-linear chains of causes and effects. There is a growing awareness of a world beyond the planners control, evolving in various This abstract notion of our world developing non-linearly is an incentive to explore further emerging theories addressing complexity, non-linearity, adaptivity, co-evolution, transition and self-organization. Notwithstanding the recent interest, the world in which planners operate in has always had self-organizing processes. These processes were around in the traditional, coordinative era of command-and control policy making and in the controlled reality of technical and functional planning. Also in the communicative era of planning and policy making processes of self-organization are very much there. These processes were not seen, were taken for granted, never got much attention and therefore never became part of mainstream planning. They were just there and did not relate much to the planners language of control, regulation and rationality or the planners drive to reach consensus and a shared responsibility.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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