Deep systems understanding

Our take on cities and regions is rooted in complex systems sciences.

We know that developments cannot be strictly foreseen or planned in all their details. One reason is that people make choices and develop and live new ideas in constantly changing situations and interactions. Thus, we not only look at urban structure but also at activities and interactions: While structure provides a frame, actions and interaction define a neighborhood as, e.g., vivid, prosperous, dynamic, entrepreneurial, urban or as, e.g., quiet, residential, suburban. Developments of cities are always dynamic and this has to be accounted for in urban planning (where all too often only static plans are being produced). This understanding of cities as dynamic and complex systems leads us to the above-mentioned single-case approach through which we can identify activities, new ideas, and latent developments. In this approach we make use of a technique we call “deep systems understanding.”