Sustainability of Complex Systems: Insights from Ecological Dynamics

Fath B (2015). Sustainability of Complex Systems: Insights from Ecological Dynamics. In: Systems Analysis 2015 - A Conference in Celebration of Howard Raiffa, 11 -13 November, 2015, Laxenburg, Austria.

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Abstract

Sustainability is an important concept, currently at the forefront of many policy agendas. Yet, the science of sustainability is still inchoate: What does it means for a system to be sustainable? What are the features of sustainable systems and how can they be quantified? Systems ecology is built on Bertalanffy’s premise that organisms, like all complex adaptive systems, are self-organized and interactive. This shifted our perspective from a linear mechanism to models that required a broader, holistic orientation in order to understand fully the dynamics involved. These complex systems operate by maintaining functional gradients away from equilibrium. While there are basic requirements regarding availability of input and output boundary flows and sinks, sustainability is centrally a feature of system configuration. A system must provide a basis of positionally balancing, wholeness-enhancing centers of activity. In this presentation, I provide an overview of concepts and methods developed in ecosystem theory to describe the structure and function of these self-sustaining autocatalytic configurations, and extend the methods to applications in economic and socio-economic systems.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2016 10:09
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 10:09
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/12249

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