Sustainable systems promote wholeness-extending transformations: The contributions of systems thinking

Fath, B.D. ORCID: (2014). Sustainable systems promote wholeness-extending transformations: The contributions of systems thinking. Ecological Modelling 293 42-48. 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.01.002.

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper reviews and compares systems thinking ideas originating from three individuals in diverse disciplines: American ecologist Bernard Patten, German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, and Austrian-born architect Christopher Alexander. From all three, stem ideas promoting the importance of differentiation (boundaries), connectedness, relations, and feedback. The congruence of these ideas formed independently, in different disciplines, on different continents, at roughly the same time speaks to the deep resonance systems concepts have on understanding our world. Consistent as well, is the insight that individual objects emerge from the structural couplings of their physical and social environmental context. These systems concepts are applied here to classify diversity in a holistic and integrated fashion and then extended to inform the question of sustainability. Sustainable systems are ones that are able to maintain coherent self-organization and simultaneously, recursively extend interactions to neighboring coherent wholes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diversity; Envirogram; Environment; Operational closure; Systems theory; Sustainability
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Modelling; 293:42-48 (10 December 2014) (Published online 31 January 2014)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:24

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item