Learning from paradoxes about prediction and planning in self-organizing cities

Juval Portugali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Paradoxes have long been useful (and enjoyable) analytical tools; mainly due to their capability to expose things that are wrong when everything appears to be right. Zeno paradoxes are a good example of their use in antiquity, while in modern science theoretical physics stands as a domain where paradoxes are intensively used. This is not the case with cities and their planning, however. This article introduces paradoxes as useful means to study predictions in the context of cities and their planning. It discusses several city planning paradoxes and suggests seeing their origin in the complexity of cities and in the role played by cognitive maps and information exchange in complex, self-organizing cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-262
Number of pages15
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • City planning
  • Complexity
  • Information theory
  • Paradoxes
  • Prospective cognitive maps
  • Self-fulfilling/falsifying predictions


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