Projects conducted by Shih-Kung Lai

 

Urban Complexity and Planning

 

Planning Behavior

 

Complexity: New Perspectives on Urban Planning

 

Behavioral Planning Theory: New Logic of Urban Plannin

 

 

 


PLANNING WITHIN COMPLEX URBAN SYSTEMS


Shih-Kung Lai, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University


Email: lai@tongji.edu.cn

 

 

 

 


The four companion volumes cover my research on urban complexity and planning behavior conducted over the past 35 years and constitute a planning theory that I am writing about in a book entitled “Planning within Complex Urban Systems” to be published by Routledge in the series of Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design. The main idea of the planning theory is described below.


Frictional City


Imagine a fluid city where people can freely move and buildings can be replaced at no cost. The city can quickly achieve a dynamic equilibrium state. In reality, it costs money and time for people to move and buildings to be replaced. That is, there is friction in such dynamic adjustments of people and buildings which can be characterized by four I's (interdependence, irreversibility, indivisibility, and imperfect foresight) (Hopkins, 2001). The ideal, dynamic equilibrium state of the city cannot be achieved anymore and the city evolves into a complex system endlessly, full of surprises and problems, such as deteriorated housing, air pollution, wasted land, etc. though with desired amenity such as scale economy.


Complexity Theory


Complexity theory explains the causes and effects of a system composed of numerous units that not only interact with each other but with a dual, global-local interaction (Waldrop, 1992). Through the micro-interaction, the complex system can self-organize itself into a macro-pattern which affects the micro-interaction. Because of the four I's, the frictional city is a manifestation of a complex system like a waterfall which looks like static faraway, but is full of changes in details when looked at close up. Traffic flow and clustered land emerge in an orderly way. Together with the four I’s, complexity theory shows that plans work in the frictional city (Lai, 2018).
 

      Logic of Making Plans

 

     One way to deal with city problems deriving from the four I's is to make and use plans for urban development by coordinating interdependent decisions when making the current decision. There is a logic of making and using such plans that take into account many stakeholders at multiple levels and their interaction in the city, such as local and regional governments, developers, landowners, and the planner. Making and using plans in light of the four I's is like canoeing in a river. You need to keep planning and acting; otherwise, you will be pushed into undesirable places in the river (Hopkins, 2001).


Planning Behavior

 

     The logic of making plans prompts planning behavior that carries out the plan making and using tasks (Hopkins, 2001). For example, we can ask and answer the following questions: How can we develop tools that can help the planner consider interdependent decisions when making the current decision for urban development? How should the planner form coalitions with common interests as intended in a plan? What strategy should the planner take in siting a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) facility, such as an incinerator?

 

     The Synthetic Framework

 

     All the ideas introduced above can be framed in the conceptual diagram above as a theory of planning within complex urban systems. In the simplest explanation for the diagram from top down, based on the four I's, complexity theory and the logic of making plans form the theoretical bases for urban complexity and planning behavior respectively. Urban complexity and planning behavior then interact with each other through the mechanisms of plans emerging from urban systems, resulting in the urban environment.


References
 

     Hopkins, Lewis D. (2001) Urban Development: The Logic of Making Plans. London: Island Press.
Lai, Shih-Kung (2018) “Why plans matter for cities,” Cities73: 91-95.
Waldrop, M. Mitchell (1992) Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks.

 

 

 

Principals Investigator, 2015, Exploring cognitive biases in making plans for urban development through the isolation effect of Prospect Theory (2/2), Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan

 

Principals Investigator, 2014, Exploring cognitive biases in making plans for urban development through the isolation effect of Prospect Theory (1/2), Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2013, Toward a spatial planning support system of decision network (2/2), National Science Council, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2012, Toward a spatial planning support system of decision network (1/2), National Science Council, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2012, Institutionalization of give metropolises and lock-in effects on regional development (1/2), National Science Council, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2010, Construction and application of behavioral planning theory based on contingent utility model (2/2), National Science Council, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2011, Effects of urban construction boundaries on urban development in China: assessment and rectification, Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy

 

Principal Investigator, 2010, Construction and application of behavioral planning theory based on contingent utility model (1/2), National Science Council, Taiwan

 

Principal Investigator, 2009, Emergence: modeling complex urban systems (2/2), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2008, Emergence: modeling complex urban systems (1/2), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2007, Social and economic impacts of land acquisition in China, University of Maryland, U. S. A.

 

Principal Investigator, 2007, Design of integrated mechanisms of post-disaster urban and rural recovery institutions (integrated and sub-projects): interaction between social and physical structures of post disaster urban and regional recovery institutions (2/2), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2006, Design of integrated mechanisms of post-disaster urban and rural recovery institutions (integrated and sub-projects): interaction between social and physical structures of post disaster urban and regional recovery institutions (1/2), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2006, Survey and analysis of Taipei delineated areas for urban renewal, Taipei City Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2005, Effects of land use plans on urban development in China: a property right approach, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, U. S. A.

 

Principal Investigator, 2005, Taipei real estate digital database construction, Taipei City Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2004, Taipei real estate digital database planning, Taipei City Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2004, Equitable use of water resources and social justice: Social choice mechanisms for delineation of watershed protection areas (1/2 and 2/2), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2003, Planning in complex spatial, temporal systems (3/3), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2002, Planning in complex spatial, temporal systems (2/3), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2002, On how to promote the review systems for civic affairs: Urban design review, environmental impact assessment, and public arts review processes, Taipei City Government, Taiwan.

 

Co-investigator, 2002, Effects of internet-communication technology on Taipei urban spatial structure, Taipei Municipal Government, Taiwan.

 

Co-investigator, 2002, Industries-Academics cooperation model and strategy for schools of technology: A case study for the Nan-Yang Area, National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2002, Planning in complex spatial, temporal systems (1/3), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2002, Self-organization of population distributions in town and country development in Taiwan: Hsin-Ji interchange special district population structure, Bureau of Construction, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2001, If a city is not a tree, maybe it is a machine (4/5), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2001, Comprehensive review of Song Hsan District of Taipei City, Taipei Municipal Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2001, Evaluation of integrated urban development method for Jin Men County, Jin Men County government, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2001, Integration and establishment of quantitative environmental thresholds for Taiwan Area, Environmental Protection Agency, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2000, If a city is not a tree, maybe it is a machine (3/5), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2000, Laboratory design for complex spatial planning support systems, Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 2000, Solid waste management policy and plan review, Environmental Protection Agency, Taiwan.

 

Principal Investigator, 1999, If a city is not a tree, maybe it is a machine (2/5), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1999, Effects of large scale transportation construction projects on town and country development and regional balance: government sector, National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1999, Quantitative environmental thresholds and plan review for hillside developments: a case study for Taipei county, Environmental Protection Agency, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1998, If a city is not a tree, maybe it is a machine (1/5), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1998, Taxation and management systems for highway land and buildings serve as radio bases and infrastructure lines construction, Highway Bureau, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1997, Planning logic: an interpretation based on utility theory (III), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1996, Planning logic: an interpretation based on utility theory (II), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1995, How should planning activities be organized? (I) and (II), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Co-investigator, 1995, Revision of Taipei Comprehensive Plan, Taipei Municipal Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1995, Survey and analysis for land uses and water quality and quantity for Tsai Liao river basin protected area, Da Yue Engineering Consulting Company, Taiwan.

 

Co-investigator, 1995, A study on Taipei zoning control systems, Taipei Municipal Government, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1994, Planning logic: an interpretation based on utility theory (I), National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Principal investigator, 1994, Relation between the Analytic Hierarchy Process and multiattribute utility theory, National Science Council, Taiwan.

 

Database administrator, 1992, User manual for Illinois Recreational Facility Inventory database, Department of Resource Reservation of State of Illinois, U. S. A.

 

Co-investigator, 1991, Cable TV zoning system for Taiwan Area, Executive Yuan, Taiwan.

 

Research assistant, 1991, User manual for Illinois Stream Information System database, Department of Resource Reservation of State of Illinois, U. S. A.

 

Research assistant, 1991, Data description manual for Illinois Stream Information System database, Department of Resource Reservation of State of Illinois, U. S. A.

 

Research assistant, 1991, Experimental comparison of multiattribute decision making techniques, Research Board of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U. S. A

 

Database administrator, 1990, Final report for Illinois Recreational Facility Inventory, Department of Resource Reservation of State of Illinois, U. S. A.

 

Research assistant, 1990, Land allocation strategy for Army-unique training, US Army Corps of Engineering Laboratory, U. S. A.