Urban System

Urban System

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3683-3.ch001


There are different attributes which are instrumental in shaping the characteristics of a city. Sustainable urban development is not possible without understanding the relationship among these attributes. And it is not possible to assess and quantify the interdependence of these attributes using a unidimensional approach. Hence, this chapter attempts to develop an understanding about the need of analyzing a city using principles of system sciences. However, there are a few issues with this approach which may escalate complexity in characterizing a city. Therefore, it further addresses the possibilities of uncertainty and randomness due to this approach. And it also explained about the possible ways to contain randomness and uncertainty in studying cities. It is believed that this chapter would succeed in developing a strong understanding about the working of cities, and the need of system science principles in investigating them.
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There is an upsurge in economic activities due to globalization. It is the primary reason for cropping up of urban centres across the globe. The fact that the urban centres are growth engines of a nation cannot be doubted. Therefore, development of urban centres is an absolute necessity. However, urban regions attract huge influx of people. Consequently, there is a significant rise in the demands of urban residents for their livelihood. That begins exerting pressure on the urban regions to meet the growing demands of the urban regions. As a result, there is high likelihood that people may start harnessing the resources in an abrupt way. That may threaten the possibility of sustainable urban centres. It may create a situation where these regions become vulnerable to various urban hazards. Therefore, there is a need to understand how these urban regions function, and the various components, or dimensions associated with these regions. In addition, the fact that components of urban centres do not act in isolation; they are interrelated, and interdependent on each other. Thus, any attempt which investigates the working of a city with a linear approach will surely fail to present its correct picture. And it will end up in sketching a flawed concept of the working of urban centres. Therefore, integrated and combinatorial analysis of a city is a must criterion. It would help in understanding a city more accurately, and precisely. Furthermore, it may help significantly in formulating effective urban policies which can make a city sustainable. At least, these policies would be instrumental in containing abruptness in the urban regions.

Therefore, this chapter aims to explain that how a city acts as a system. In addition, why is it necessary to study a city from system’s perspective? And if it is not investigated using system’s perspective, then what could be the consequences of it. It further attempts to explain the meaning of urban sustainability. And the possibility of transforming a city into sustainable city in the current context is also discussed. Most importantly, the significance of approach in studying urban centres is also discussed in detail. It is also highlighted, and discussed elaborately that how an effective approach may help in making effective urban policies. The urban policies which are significant in making an urban system robust, and less vulnerable to inconsistencies of a city. This chapter ends with a note on possible measures which can help in achieving the idea of sustainability. Having read this chapter, the readers will have a clear and thorough idea about the different facets of an urban system, and their working. That will help them to study a city in a more appropriate manner. They will become aware about the issues which are possibly responsible for making a city vulnerable to inconsistencies. That knowledge would be helpful in development of methods and models which can accurately represent urban events. In addition, an understanding about connecting the different components of urban system will be developed. It will help them in frameworks which are flexible, yet robust for assessing and quantifying events occurring in urban domain.

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