The epistemological and methodological implications of complexity theory for understanding urban sprawl are discussed. It is argued that urban spatial forms, such as sprawl, emerge from nonlinear, self-organizational, and dynamic urban processes. Because of this, there cannot be a universal theory of sprawl and each case should be investigated within its context. The micro—macro problem provides the conceptual grounding for these investigations. Agent-based simulations can be used to investigate the micro—macro transformations in urban systems. Implications of complexity theory for understanding the role of urban policies are discussed.
Introduction The advent of the new sciences of complexity has produced a subtle but important change in policy analysis illustrated by the papers in this volume. In brief, policy analysis is no longer strictly concerned with simplifying a complex environment by reducing alternatives for problem solving and resource allocation to a few optimal scenarios that […]