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Systems Analysis as a Tool for Urban Planning

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1 Author(s)
Jay W. Forrester ; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. 02139

New ways are becoming available for analyzing our social systems. These permit the design of revised policies to improve the behavior of the systems within which we live. Industrial dynamics relates system structure to behavior. Industrial dynamics belongs to the same general subject area as feedback systems, servomechanisms theory, and cybernetics. Industrial dynamics is the study of how the feedback loop structure of a system produces the dynamic behavior of that system. In managerial terms industrial dynamics makes possible the structuring of the components and policies of a system to show how the resulting dynamic behavior is produced. In terms of social systems it deals with the forces that arise within a system to cause changes through time. The structure of an urban area has been organized into a system model to show the life cycle dynamics of urban growth and decay. The results suggest that most of today's popular urban policies lie between neutral and detrimental in their effectiveness. Quite different policies are suggested when one comes to an understanding of why urban areas evolve as they do. The city shows the general characteristics of a complex system.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems Science and Cybernetics  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 4 )