1970 volume 2(4) pages 369 – 408

Cite as:
McLoughlin J B, Webster J N, 1970, "Cybernetic and general-system approaches to urban and regional research: a review of the literature" Environment and Planning 2(4) 369 – 408

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Cybernetic and general-system approaches to urban and regional research: a review of the literature

J Brian McLoughlin, Judith N Webster

Received August 1970

Abstract. Certain theoretical concepts are introduced including the notion of systems, their structure and behaviour: cybernetics and information theory; the dynamics of systems which evolve and adapt their structure, and the maintenance of their organisation; the notion of control. Each concept is illustrated with examples drawn from various disciplines.

The review continues by relating this theoretical framework to systems identified in human-settlement patterns. Contributions by regional scientists are noted, various approaches to urban/regional systems analysis are reviewed, and the specific problems of defining elements, interactions, and an appropriate environment, are discussed.

In conclusion, an attempt is made to identify particular authors and ideas which appear to be the most significant contributions towards the understanding and guidance of change in towns and regions.

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