Source: Continuous Improvement Associates

Social Issues
Understanding Urban Dynamics
By Bob Powell,

Excerpts on "Understanding Urban Dynamics" from "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems" by Jay W. Forrester [33K] Download

While the dynamics of growth can be frustrating and depressing, it's better to be aware of what we're up against. A key point Jay Forrester makes in these excerpts from his paper on the "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems" is that "programs aimed at improving a city can succeed only if they result in eventually raising the average quality of life for the country as a whole." Therefore, it's important that regions cooperate and not compete with one another.

Read the entire paper: "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems," [464K] (Jay W. Forrester) (D-4468-2). Download pdf file. The paper is an introduction to the concepts of system dynamics, discussing social policies and their derivation from incomplete understanding of complex systems.

This paper is based on testimony for the Subcommittee on Urban Growth of the Committee on Banking and Currency, U.S. House of Representatives, on October 7, 1970. The original text appeared in the January, 1971, issue of the Technology Review published by the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Updated March, 1995.



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