Briassoulis H, 2008, "Land-use policy and planning, theorizing, and modeling: lost in translation, found in complexity?" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 35(1) 16 – 33
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Land-use policy and planning, theorizing, and modeling: lost in translation, found in complexity?
Received 30 May 2005; in revised form 5 September 2006; published online 17 August 2007
Abstract. This paper ventures an examination of the linkages among three worlds—those of land-use theorizing and modeling, and that of policy making and planning—which, despite historical and recent advances, remain comparatively poor and haunted by defective communication and problematic translation between them. It is motivated by shifts that have taken place since the late 1980s in all three worlds, away from ‘classical’ thinking (positivism, reductionism, and linear and static worldviews) and towards complex systems (CS) thinking (alternative epistemologies, holism, and nonlinear and dynamic worldviews). The principal question is whether or not CS thinking, compared to classical thinking, addresses more satisfactorily key policy and planning issues, thus holding the potential to improve communication and bridge the gaps between the three worlds. The issues examined are the representation of the sociospatial system, the land-use change process, and policy and planning intervention. After delimiting each world and the diffusion of CS thinking, the paper investigates how the classical approach and the CS approach fare in handling these issues. The analysis suggests that it is not yet possible to determine which approach is superior. The main points are summarized and CS specific and more general future research directions are indicated.
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