Mechanisms of Systematic Risk Production



The concentration and densification of social processes is the quintessential feature of cities in general. This offers manifold opportunities: in a material/factual dimension they sustain functional processes for the provision of basic human needs such as energy, food, water and housing; in a temporal dimension they organize and coordinate the numerous municipal processes required to achieve synchronization; in a social dimension they implement measures to include the population at structural and normative levels with regard to participation in functional system services. We argue that while reproducing these functions, megacities, in particular, simultaneously create conditions that jeopardize them with what we call systematic risk production mechanisms. Using four distinctions (Attraction/Exposure, Metabolization/Deterioration, Synchronization/Desynchronization, Inclusion/Exclusion) we analyse their development in order to exemplify the non-linear dynamics and self-enforcing, mutually amplifying processes of such complex research objects as megacities. Our ultimate goal is to produce a heuristic for interdisciplinary research and create a scientific approach with a common frame of reference for the different research disciplines involved.


Danger Functions Hazard Interdisciplinary research Risk Social mechanisms Systemic risk 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)Eggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany

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