Synergetic cities

Juval Portugali, Hermann Haken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Synergetics, one of the founding theories of complexity, was founded by Hermann Haken and his interpretation of the laser phenomenon in terms of a self-organizing non-equilibrium system. As the name indicates, Synergetics refers to systems in which the working together of their many parts gives rise to an emergent whole which is different from the sum of its parts. Since its origin it was applied to a variety of domains, ranging from physics, through sociology, psychology, cognition and artificial intelligence to the dynamics of cities and their planning. This latter application made Synergetics also a leading approach in the domain of complexity theories of cities that emerged in the last decades. In this paper we shortly introduce synergetics with its basic paradigms and the way they were applied to cities. We then review subsequent and recent developments of the synergetic view on cities that emerged out of the conjunction between the theories of synergetics, cognition, information and the city.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Cities and Complexity
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781789900125
ISBN (Print)9781789900118
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


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