pages/default.php (page)

Navigating Complexity

A site offering a general orientation to complexity thinking, applicable to any field

The Basics

Complex Adaptive Systems theory provides a useful lens for understanding various phenomena.  This site offers a general, non-mathematical approach basis for working with complexity. It offers an introduction to the principles of complexity, how such systems are governed, and how they solve problems.

Complexity can be used to talk about many different kinds of systems: the ripples of sand in a desert, the pathways of ants in a colony; the behaviors of people in a society. Each of these systems is in some way 'complicated'. But is complexity just another word for 'complicated', and if not, how is it helpful to think about systems using complexity? What, in the end, is useful about complexity?


Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) are a distinct class of systems capable of processing information, energy, or flows in highly efficient ways. Such systems can be harnessed to solve a host of different kinds of problems, because:


      • CAS are great optimizers - stewarding system resources effectively;
      • CAS can solve complicated problems - without need for top-down control;
      • CAS adapt - realigning to 'fit' into their changing contexts;
      • CAS have an alive quality to them - they feel natural.


Complexity for who?

(urbanism and more)

The website is meant for those coming to complexity from diverse and non-mathematical backgrounds. It is intended to guide people as to a new way of thinking about the world - one where we begin to perceive a host of phenomena operating as complex systems. The site considers how different research discourses apply terms, tools, principles and methods from CAS research. Accordingly, it can serve to bridge gaps between discourses. Furthermore, a portion of this website is specifically devoted to content relating to how complexity is being used to inform urban theory.

That said, this is not an urban theory website: urbanism is just one potential application.


Using the Site

To begin navigating, click on the circle and spoke icon at the center top of the page: this will take you to an interactive diagram, organized in three parts:


  • The center of the diagram highlights six Governing Features of complexity - these six features are then linked to two domains - 
  • The left hand side of the diagram describes Core Concepts associated with complexity and how they relate to the governing features (for anyone interested in complexity);
  • The right hand side of the diagram describes various Urban Discourses relating to complexity and how these relate to the governing features (for anyone interested in urban theories of complexity).


To learn more about how the six features were determined, or to gain a general introduction to complexity, click on the "What is Complexity" and "Background and Approach" buttons at the top of the page. The website also has a wealth of content to assist in illustrating key ideas. these include: People, Terms, & Resources (videos, books, articles, thought experiments, & more.

If you want to jump directly into a topic,  term, or author related to complexity (or just browse some of the general site resources), go to the "In General" resources at the top right hand of the page and begin exploring.

 

 


Photo Credit and Caption: Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Cite this page:

Wohl, S. (2021, 8 July). Navigating Complexity. Retrieved from https://kapalicarsi.wittmeyer.io/

Navigating Complexity was updated July 8th, 2021.

Nothing over here yet

In Depth: Navigating Complexity

This is the feed, a series of related links and resources. Add a link to the feed →

Nothing in the feed...yet.

This is a list of People that Navigating Complexity is related to.

  • See all People
  • This is a list of Terms that Navigating Complexity is related to.

  • See all Terms
  • This is a list of Urban Fields that Navigating Complexity is related to.

  • See all Complexity & Urbanism
  • This is a list of Key Concepts that Navigating Complexity is related to.

  • See all Core Concepts
  • There would be some thought experiments here.

    Navigating Complexity © 2015-2021 Sharon Wohl, all rights reserved. Developed by Sean Wittmeyer
    Sign In (SSO) | Sign In


    Test Data
    Related (this page): 
    Section: 
    Non-Linearity
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Modeling (11, fields), Resilient Urbanism (14, fields), Relational Geography (19, fields), Landscape Urbanism (15, fields), Evolutionary Geography (12, fields), Communicative Planning (18, fields), Assemblage Geography (20, fields), Tipping Points (218, concepts), Path Dependency (93, concepts), Far From Equilibrium (212, concepts), 
    Nested Scales
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Modeling (11, fields), Resilient Urbanism (14, fields), Informal Urbanism (16, fields), Self-Organized Criticality (64, concepts), Scale-Free (217, concepts), Power Laws (66, concepts), 
    Emergence
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Modeling (11, fields), Urban Datascapes (28, fields), Informal Urbanism (16, fields), Incremental Urbanism (13, fields), Evolutionary Geography (12, fields), Assemblage Geography (20, fields), Self-Organization (214, concepts), Fitness (59, concepts), Attractor States (72, concepts), 
    Driving Flows
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Datascapes (28, fields), Tactical Urbanism (17, fields), Relational Geography (19, fields), Parametric Urbanism (10, fields), Landscape Urbanism (15, fields), Evolutionary Geography (12, fields), Communicative Planning (18, fields), Assemblage Geography (20, fields), Open / Dissipative (84, concepts), Networks (75, concepts), Information (73, concepts), 
    Bottom-up Agents
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Modeling (11, fields), Resilient Urbanism (14, fields), Parametric Urbanism (10, fields), Informal Urbanism (16, fields), Incremental Urbanism (13, fields), Evolutionary Geography (12, fields), Communicative Planning (18, fields), Rules (213, concepts), Degrees of Freedom (78, concepts), 
    Adaptive Capacity
    Related (same section): 
    Related (all): Urban Modeling (11, fields), Tactical Urbanism (17, fields), Parametric Urbanism (10, fields), Landscape Urbanism (15, fields), Informal Urbanism (16, fields), Incremental Urbanism (13, fields), Evolutionary Geography (12, fields), Iterations (56, concepts), Feedback (88, concepts), Cybernetics (53, concepts),