© 2007

Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics

Conference proceedings

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XVII
  2. Gilbert W. Merkx
    Pages 35-50
  3. Sylvie Lorente
    Pages 51-70
  4. John E. R. Staddon
    Pages 161-167
  5. Anthony Oberschall
    Pages 169-182
  6. Kenneth G. Manton, Kenneth C. Land, Eric Stallard
    Pages 183-196
  7. Carter T. Butts
    Pages 197-223
  8. Lorien Jasny
    Pages 247-262
  9. Franca Morroni
    Pages 263-278
  10. Cyrus Amoozegar
    Pages 297-314
  11. Jean-Christophe Denaës
    Pages 315-343
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 345-350

About these proceedings


Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics brings together for the first time social scientists and engineers to develop a predictive theory of social organization, as a conglomerate of mating flows that morph in time to flow more easily (people, goods, money, energy, information). These flows have objectives (e.g., minimization of effort, travel time, cost), and the objectives clash with global constraints (space, time, resources). The result is organization (flow architecture) derived from one principle of configuration evolution in time (the constructal law): "for a flow system to persist in time, its configuration must morph such that it provides easier access to its streams."

Constructal theory predicts animal design and geophysical flows, and makes evolution a part of physics. In the social sciences, there is substantial literature based on the use of optima to deduce social, population and economic dynamics. The constructal approach of this book links social sciences with physics, biology and engineering. The book explores the deterministic principle that generates a broad array of patterned phenomena, in demography, geography, communications, hierarchy, and multiple scales. Examples are the distribution of living settlements, the occurrence of flow structure inside each settlement, ‘development’ as the relation between fast-flowing societies and advancement and wealth, migration patterns, and globalization.

Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics is novel and important because it puts the occurrence of social organization on a scientific basis. It brings social organization under the same physics principle that accounts for the generation of flow architecture (design) in geophysical flows, animal design, and engineered flows. This exploratory work adds a dose of determinism to the modeling and predicting of societal flows.


chaos constructal determinism flow movement design nature organizations social systems sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

Bibliographic information