Concluding Notes: Self-Organizing Cities at the Gate of the 21st Century

  • Juval Portugali
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN)


The self-organizing cities we have discussed enable us to theorize about the very first city, its subsequent evolutionary forms, as well as about its current appearance as the hypermodern city of today. We see them all from the perspective of end 20th century. The self-organizing cities that we have discussed and simulated in this book are the theories of cities with which we are going to close the 20th century and enter the 21st century. This is so by definition. But the self-organized city is also an image, a cognitive map, a general cultural atmosphere about the nature of the cities and the urbanized world we live in. And this, as far as I can judge, is something new. In the very ancient past and in antiquity, cities always came with a strong feeling of stability, civilization, law and order Think of the urban revolution, which is but a synonym to the rise of civilization, think of the classical Greek city (from which the word ‘police’ is taken), think of the cities of the Occident as portrayed, for example, by Max Weber or Mumford. Think also of the image of our cities as we used to look at them just a few decades ago — as they appeared in our urban theories. Todays images are very different and the various self-organization cities are part of this new image of the complex, chaotic, bifurcative, far-from-equilibrium urbanized world we live in. (This by itself is not surprising if you realize that Darwin’s theory of evolution was the product of a wider cultural atmosphere of individualism, competition and economic survival of the fittest.)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juval Portugali
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and the Human EnvironmentTel Aviv UniversityRamat Aviv, Tel AvivIsrael

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