Emergent Nested Systems

A Theory of Understanding and Influencing Complex Systems as well as Case Studies in Urban Systems

  • Authors
  • Christian Walloth

Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxii
  2. A Theory of Emergent Nested Systems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Christian Walloth
      Pages 13-27
    3. Christian Walloth
      Pages 29-40
    4. Christian Walloth
      Pages 41-49
  3. Understanding and Influencing Emergent Nested Systems: A Case-Study Approach and Exemplary Cases

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Christian Walloth
      Pages 53-68
  4. Reflections and Outlook

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Christian Walloth
      Pages 173-180
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 181-199

About this book


This book presents a theory as well as methods to understand and to purposively influence complex systems. It suggests a theory of complex systems as nested systems, i. e. systems that enclose other systems and that are simultaneously enclosed by even other systems. According to the theory presented, each enclosing system emerges through time from the generative activities of the systems they enclose.

Systems are nested and often emerge unplanned, and every system of high dynamics is enclosed by a system of slower dynamics. An understanding of systems with faster dynamics, which are always guided by systems of slower dynamics, opens up not only new ways to understanding systems, but also to effectively influence them.

The aim and subject of this book is to lay out these thoughts and explain their relevance to the purposive development of complex systems, which are exemplified in case studies from an urban system. The interested reader, who is not required to be familiar with system-theoretical concepts or with theories of emergence, will be guided through the development of a theory of emergent nested systems. The reader will also learn about new ways to influence the course of events - even though the course of events is, in principle, unpredictable, due to the ever-new emergence of real novelty.


Complex Systems Decision Making Downwards Causation Effectuation Emergence Inward Influence Nested Systems Novelty Outward Influence Single Case Upwards Causation Urban Systems

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-27548-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-27550-5
  • Series Print ISSN 1860-0832
  • Series Online ISSN 1860-0840
  • Buy this book on publisher's site