Understanding Cities Through Networks and Flows

Berkeley Planning Journal, 28 (1) 2017

4 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2017

See all articles by Geoff Boeing

Geoff Boeing

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: February 1, 2017


Complexity theory has become a popular frame for conceptualizing and analyzing cities. The theory proposes that certain large systems are characterized by the nonlinear, dynamic interactions of their many constituent parts. These systems then behave in novel and unpredictable ways — ways that cannot be divined by examining the components of the system. Complexity theory problematizes traditional reductionist, linear methods of scientifically analyzing and predicting cities. It also opens up a new world of scholarship to researchers keen to formulate new kinds of sciences that take complexity into account. These attempts usually follow Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shifts: new evidence and modes of thinking undermine an established science, and a new science emerges to replace it.

Keywords: complexity, networks, complex systems, cities, urban planning, nonlinear, modeling

JEL Classification: N9, N90, O18, O21, P25, R13, R14, D5, D7, D72, C63

Suggested Citation

Boeing, Geoff, Understanding Cities Through Networks and Flows (February 1, 2017). Berkeley Planning Journal, 28 (1) 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2915553

Geoff Boeing (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

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