2011/11 CS0004 Systemic Thinking of Sustainable Communities -- Course Outline

This document is accessible (and may be updated) at http://garymetcalf.com/aalto/201111-cs0004 .

jump to: [Tuesday, November 1] [Friday, November 4] [Between sessions] [Tuesday, November 8] [Due December 31]

jump to: [Dilemmas] [Grading] [Tools]

jump to: References [Cluster 1] [Cluster 2] [Cluster 3] [Cluster 4] [Cluster 5] [Cluster 6] [Cluster 7]

Course instructors:

The course is listed as CS0004, with the code of Syst Think Su C, as part of the Master's Degree program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University.  Sessions are scheduled as:

From a systemic perspective, this course is seen as a complement to Systemic Thinking for Planners and Designers, CS0005, with the code of Syst Think P D.  While the core systems concepts between the two courses are compatible, the underlying philosophy, models and methods have different emphases.

Tuesday, November 1

10:00-10:15 Welcome and course outline [on map 00]
  • Future system (re-)designs on dilemmas in communities
10:15-11:00 Introductions, expectations
11:00-12:00 Lecture: Foundations for a systems approach [on map 01]
12:00-13:00 Lunch
13:00-13:30 Activity:  Choose a system to be (re-)designed and form cells (2-3 people) as poles in an action learning group (5-6 people)
13:30-14:30 Lecture: Boundaries, inquiry, perspectives [on map 02]
14:30-15:30 Activity in cells: For the future system to be (re-)designed, determine the containing whole, then create a list of stakeholders and their interests
15:30-16:00 Reflections, and overview of the readings in the reference clusters
Homework Readings:

Learning logs:

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Friday, November 4

10:00-10:30 Discussion on questions from the learning logs
10:30-11:30 Lecture: Learning categories, postnormal science, ignorance [on map 03]
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:30-13:30 Activity in cells: Develop a map of ignorance for the future system (re-)design
13:30-14:30 Lecture: Dialogue, engagement, intervention [on map 04]
14:30-15:30 Activity in action learning groups: Bring together the two cells within the same containing while to (co-)design a dialogue process representing the stakeholders in the future system (not necessarily the ends)
15:30-16:00 Reflections, and overview of the readings in the reference clusters
Homework Readings:

Learning logs:

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Between sessions

Either individually, or in cells:

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Tuesday, November 8

10:00-10:30 Discussion on questions from the learning logs
10:30-11:30 Lecture: Ecosystems, collapse, resilience [on map 05]
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:30-13:30 Activity in cells:  Refine your future system design for sustainability
13:30-14:30 Progress reports by cells:  10 minutes each
  • In what ways has your systemic thinking progressed (or not progressed) during this course?
    • Learning through the exercise / dilemmas
    • Insights from the references you chose
  • What systemic thinking ideas interested you?
14:30-15:30 Lecture:  System design frameworks [on map 06]

Transitioning to course completion: 

  • Overview of the readings in the reference clusters
  • Students' feedback on the course for future redesigns
  • Practicalities for the research papers
Homework Readings:

Learning logs:

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Due December 23 (extended to Dec 31!)

Individually, submit a research paper (as an electronic document or a blog entry) a summary of experiences with the course:

It will probably be hard to write less than 5 pages (i.e. 2500 words) or more than 15 pages (i.e. 7500 words).

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Experiential activities in this course include the development of skills around dialogue on dilemmas, where "easy answers" are unlikely.  Students should organize in multi-disciplinary teams (e.g. we want diversity, not all of the designers or all of the architects clumping together).

Students will cluster into cells of two or three people.  Cells are twinned into two polar positions, so that there are action learning groups of four to six people.  Joining a cell to argue a polar position does not mean that an individual is necessarily invested in those ideas, but instead encourages that the range of perspectives on an issue is appreciated.  Taking a position as a "devil's advocate" is not an uncommon way to prepare for discussion.  Students may learn more by taking a position opposite to their native beliefs.

Topics can include:

Action Learning group Cell 1 Cell 2
A urban densification - back to the land
B nuclear power - solar power and wind power
C organic farming - locavore agriculture
D tolls and user fees - public funding and access
E greenfield development - brownfield remediation
F open source liberty - private source investment
G single-payer healthcare - multi-payer healthcare
H local governance - (multi-)national governance
I representative democracy - minority rights
J online culture - slow movement

The purpose behind these dilemmas is not to get to an answer but to (i) frame issues as the (re-)design of future systems (e.g. boundary, stucture, process); (ii) develop an appreciation for the stakeholders who may be included or excluded in the (re-)design of a system; and (iii) consider alternative methods of dialogue leading to resolution and/or choices as a result.

In-class interactions will accelerate individual learning through collaboration on a dilemma.  Writings (e.g. blogs) from individual points of view can extend the conversations online.

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This course has been designed as intensive, with classroom sessions, between-class written reflections, and end-of-class research papers.  Grades will be assigned in the following scheme:

(1) Class attendance and participation enables learning in interactions between the instructors and the students, and between the students in peer-to-peer collaborations.  Active participation is encouraged and noticed by the instructors.

(2) Learning logs are personal reflections on (i) insights gained and (ii) questions provoked from the classroom sessions.  The best method of communication will be to (a) create blog posts on an open web site of your choosing -- if you don't already have one, http://wordpress.com provides space for free; and (b) post a weblink to the on the Systems Community of Inquiry forum for Systemicists at http://syscoi.com/commons/groups/systemicists/forum/

When you create a post on a web site, it is date-stamped. so the instructors will notice your activity.  Your learning logs can be brief, and they will be accessible to commentary by the public (including members of the systems community who are active on the Internet).

(3) The research paper may take a form as selected by the student, including:

The research paper can include (and should extend) the prior writing in the learning logs.  Write in an academic style (i.e. use references, so that we appreciate those ideas that are originally yours, and other ideas that came from a cited source).  You should not feel restricted to only the articles mentioned on the reference below, and may find alternative writings by these (and other) authors, journals and books.  Wikipedia is not a citable source, although it may be helpful on introductory understanding.

A research paper is more than bullet points!

The medium for the research paper may be chosen by the student as:

You may receive coaching on your writing over the Internet, if you post work-in-process and revise.


Personal reflections and questions about content can be posted online at a blog of your choosing (e.g. on http://wordpress.com ).  As an alternative to sending pointers to the blog post via e-mail, messages can be posted to the Systemicists forum on the Systems Community of Inquiry, which is visible not only to the instructors, but also other systems thinkers around the world.  Threads have been set up for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Writing can be done online directly onto a blog, or offline and then copied online.  You may want to avoid using Word as an offline editor, as the results format badly when transferred (i.e. DOC doesn't play well with HTML).  Alternative editors that do play well include Wordpad (on Windows), TextEdit on Mac, Amaya (if you're really hardcore about writing correct HTML) and JEdit (if you want to write like a programmer)

Some free and easy offline mapping tools include (i) VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) that handles network diagrams well, and (ii) Freemind, that allows folding and unfolding tree structures.  Common general purpose drawing tools include (i) OpenOffice Draw, and (ii) Inkscape .  An alternative online drawing tool is Google Docs Draw, that should allow public viewing and/or exporting to a blog.


The systems literature is broad and deep.  Some representative articles are clustered below.  Students should not feel constrained to just these references, and may find similar content written by a variety of authors in a variety of venues.

The list of references reflects the orientations towards communities. Book chapters may be more comprehensive and historic, whereas articles are more current and generally available electronically (depending on the privileges of your library)

Cluster 1. Foundations for a systems approach

How is a systems approach different? [This is the same content across two courses]

Recommended articles:

  1. Gharajedaghi, Jamshid. 2007. Systems thinking: a case for second-order-learning. The Learning Organization 14, no. 6: 473-479. doi:10.1108/09696470710825088. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09696470710825088.
  2. Ackoff, Russell L., and Jamshid Gharajedaghi. 1996. Reflections on Systems and their Models. Systems Research 13, no. 1: 13-23. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1735(199603)13:1<13::AID-SRES66>3.0.CO;2-O. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1735(199603)13:1<13::AID-SRES66>3.0.CO;2-O.
  3. Emery, Merrelyn. 2000. The current version of Emery's open systems theory. Systemic Practice and Action Research 13, no. 5: 623–643. doi:10.1023/A:1009577509972. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1009577509972.
  4. Boulding, Kenneth E. 2009. Systems research and the hierarchy of world systems: General systems in special chaos. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 26, no. 5: 505-509. doi:10.1002/sres.994. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.994.
  5. Flood, Robert. 2010. The Relationship of ‘Systems Thinking’ to Action Research. Systemic Practice and Action Research 23, no. 4: 269-284. doi:10.1007/s11213-010-9169-1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11213-010-9169-1.
  6. Beer, Stafford. 2002. What is cybernetics? Kybernetes 31, no. 2: 209-219. doi:10.1108/03684920210417283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03684920210417283.

Recommended book chapters:

  1. Ackoff, Russell L. 1994. The Emerging Concept of an Enterprise. In The Democratic Corporation, 3-35. New York: Oxford University Press [preview at Google Books]
  2. Ackoff, Russell L. 1981. Our Changing Concept of the World. In Creating the Corporate Future: Plan or Be Planned For, 3-24. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  3. Gharajedaghi, Jamshid. 1999. Systems thinking: managing chaos and complexity : a platform for designing business architecture. [preview at Google Books]
  4. Brand, Stewart. 1994. How buildings learn: what happens after they're built. New York: Viking. [preview at Google Books]
  5. Kay, James J. 2008. An Introduction to Systems Thinking. In The ecosystem approach: complexity, uncertainty, and managing for sustainability, ed. David Waltner-Toews, James J Kay, and Nina-Marie E. Lister. Columbia University Press. [preview at Google Books]

Recommended multimedia:

  1. Ackoff, Russell L. 2010. Doing It Wrong. Web Video. In Business. BBC Radio 4, January 14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pr72d/In_Business_Doing_It_Wrong/.
  2. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. Flow. Vol. 1. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8639555925486210852.
  3. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. The Low Road. Vol. 2. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5088653796598486022.
  4. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. Built for Change. Vol. 3. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6141960341438553915.
  5. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. Unreal Estate. Vol. 4. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8761299882173964035.
  6. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. The Romance of Maintenance. Vol. 5. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5407846553590755822.
  7. Brand, Stewart, and James Runice. 1997. Shearing Layers. Vol. 6. 6 vols. How Buildings Learn. BBC. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2283224496826631552.

Extended articles:

  1. Boulding, Kenneth E. 1956. General Systems Theory -- The Skeleton of Science. Management Science 2, no. 3 (April): 197-208. http://jstor.org/stable/2627132.
  2. Ackoff, Russell L. 1971. Towards a system of systems concepts. Management Science 17, no. 11: 661–671. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2629308.
  3. von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. 1972. The History and Status of General Systems Theory. The Academy of Management Journal 15, no. 4: 407-426. http://jstor.org/stable/255139.
  4. Drack, Manfred, and Wilfried Apfalter. 2007. Is Paul A. Weissʼ and Ludwig von Bertalanffyʼs system thinking still valid today? Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24, no. 5: 537-546. doi:10.1002/sres.855. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.855.
  5. Drack, Manfred. 2009. Ludwig von Bertalanffy's early system approach. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 26, no. 5 (September 1): 563-572. doi:10.1002/sres.992. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.992.
  6. Ing, David. 2010. Service Systems in Changing Paradigms: An Inquiry through the Systems Sciences. In The Science of Service Systems. Service Science: Research and Innovations (SRII) in the Service Economy. Springer, forthcoming. http://coevolving.com/commons/201003-service-systems-in-changing-paradigms.

There's more opinions on systems at http://coevolving.com/blogs/

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Cluster 2. Boundary, inquiry, perspectives

How do we ensure that we have appropriate levels of community engagement and participation?

Recommended articles:

  1. Ulrich, Werner. 2000. Reflective Practice in the Civil Society: The contribution of critically systemic thinking. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives 1, no. 2: 247. doi:10.1080/713693151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713693151.
  2. Parrish, James L., and James F. Courtney. 2009. Churchman's inquirers as design templates for knowledge management systems. Communications of the ACM 52, no. 7: 126-129. doi:10.1145/1538788.1538817. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1538788.1538817.
  3. Courtney, James F. 2001. Decision making and knowledge management in inquiring organizations: toward a new decision-making paradigm for DSS. Decision Support Systems 31, no. 1: 17-38. doi:10.1016/S0167-9236(00)00117-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-9236(00)00117-2.
  4. Zhu, Zhichang. 2010. Theorizing systems methodologies across cultures. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2: 208-223. doi:10.1002/sres.1026. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.1026.
  5. Leleur, Steen. 2008. Systems science and complexity: some proposals for future development. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 25, no. 1: 67-79. doi:10.1002/sres.860. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.860.
  6. Espejo, Raul. 2000. Giving Requisite Variety to Strategic and Implementation Processes: Theory and Practice. In JAIST Conference. Ishikawa, Japan. http://www.syncho.com/pages/pdf/Giving Requisite Variety.pdf.

Recommended books:

  1. Mitroff, Ian I., and Harold A. Linstone. 1993. The unbounded mind: Breaking the chains of traditional business thinking. New York: Oxford University Press. [snippet view at Google Books]
  2. Churchman, C. West. 1971. The design of inquiring systems: basic concepts of systems and organization. Basic Books. [snippet view at Google Books]
  3. Hayakawa, Samuel Ichiyé. 1978. Language in thought and action. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. [preview at Google Books]

Extended articles:

  1. Jackson, Michael C. 2010. Reflections on the development and contribution of critical systems thinking and practice. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2: 133-139. doi:10.1002/sres.1020. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.1020.
  2. Fan, Dongping. 2010. The tension between holism and pluralism: Comment on ‘creative holism’. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2 (March 1): 200-207. doi:10.1002/sres.1025. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.1025.
  3. Jackson, Michael C. 2010. Response and comments on the special issue: ‘Systems methodology and social development: a global conversation in China’. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2: 241-244. doi:10.1002/sres.1028. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.1028.
  4. Mulej, Matjaz, and Vojko Potocan. 2007. Requisite holism – precondition of reliable business information. Kybernetes 36, no. 3: 319-332. doi:10.1108/03684920710746986. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03684920710746986.

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Cluster 3. Learning categories, postnormal science, ignorance

How do we understand and approach ecologies (both natural and social)?

Recommended articles:

  1. Bateson, Gregory. 1972. The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication. In Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 279-309. Jason Aronson, Inc. [preview reprint from 2000 at Google Books]
  2. Ravetz, Jerome R. 2004. The post-normal science of precaution. Futures 36, no. 3: 347–357. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(03)00160-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0016-3287(03)00160-5.
  3. Ravetz, Jerome R. 2006. Post-normal science and the complexity of transitions towards sustainability. Ecological Complexity 3, no. 4: 275–284. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2007.02.001. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2007.02.001.
  4. David Ing, Minna Takala, and Ian Simmonds, "Anticipating Organizational Competences for Development through the Disclosing of Ignorance", Proceedings of the 47th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the System Sciences at Hersonissos, Crete, July 7-11, 2003. http://systemicbusiness.org/pubs/2003_ISSS_47th_Ing_Takala_Simmonds.html .
  5. Q-cubed Programs. 2006. What Is Ignorance? University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. http://www.ignorance.medicine.arizona.edu/ignorance.html.

Extended book list:

  1. Witte, M. H, A. Kerwin, and C. L Witte. 1998. Curriculum on medical and other ignorance: shifting paradigms on learning and discovery. Memory distortions and their prevention: 125–156. [preview on Google Books]
  2. Waltner-Toews, David, James J. Kay, and Nina-Marie E. Lister, eds. 2008. The ecosystem approach: complexity, uncertainty, and managing for sustainability. Columbia University Press. [preview at Google Books]
  3. Westley, Frances, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton. 2007. Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed. Random House of Canada. [preview at Google Books]

Extended articles:

  1. Sardar, Ziauddin. 2010. Welcome to postnormal times. Futures 42, no. 5 (June): 435-444. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2009.11.028. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2009.11.028.
  2. Barton, John, and Tim Haslett. 2007. Analysis, synthesis, systems thinking and the scientific method: rediscovering the importance of open systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24, no. 2: 143-155. doi:10.1002/sres.816. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.816.
  3. Bowers, Todd David. 2010. Ontological Support for Multiparadigm Multimethodologies: Isomorphic Process–Structures and the Critical Moment. In Proceedings of the 54th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Waterloo, Canada, July. http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings54th/article/view/1466.

There is a lot of content at the Resilience Alliance Network at http://www.resalliance.org , including the online journal Ecology and Society at http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/

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Cluster 4. Dialogue, engagement, intervention

What approaches can we use for community engagement?

Recommended articles:

  1. Metcalf, Gary S. 2008. Dialogue and Ecological Engineering in Social Systems Design. In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the ISSS. Madison, WI. http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings52nd/article/view/983.
  2. Walton, Douglas C. 2004. Designing within: Dr Bela H. Banathy's contributions to the self-organization of public discourse. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 21, no. 3: 281-293. doi:10.1002/sres.622. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.622.
  3. Winograd, Terry, and Fernando Flores. 1986. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. [preview at Google Books]
  4. Winograd, Terry. 1986. A language/action perspective on the design of cooperative work. In Proceedings of the 1986 ACM conference on Computer-supported cooperative work, 203-220. Austin, Texas: ACM. doi:10.1145/637069.637096. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/637069.637096.
  5. Ing, David. 2008. Offerings as commitments and context: Service systems from a language action perspective. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of the UK System Society. Oxford, UK. http://coevolving.com/commons/2008_Systemist_v30_n2_p154_Ing_Offerings-Language-Action .
  6. Wilby, Jennifer. 1996. Developing total systems intervention (TSI): The critical review mode. Systems Practice 9, no. 3: 231-261. doi:10.1007/BF02169016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02169016.
  7. Walter-Toews, David, and James J. Kay. 2005. The Evolution of an Ecosystem Approach: the Diamond Schematic and an Adaptive Methodology for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health. Ecology and Society 10, no. 1. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/articles/1214.html.
  8. Kay, James J., Henry A. Regier, Michelle Boyle, and George Francis. 1999. An ecosystem approach for sustainability: addressing the challenge of complexity. Futures 31, no. 7: 721-742. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(99)00029-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0016-3287(99)00029-4.

Recommended books:

  1. Banathy, Bela H. 1996. Designing social systems in a changing world. Springer. [preview at Google Books]

Extended articles:

  1. Waltner-Toews, David, James J. Kay, Cynthia Neudoerffer, and Thomas Gitau. 2003. Perspective changes everything: managing ecosystems from the inside out. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1, no. 1 (2): 23-30. doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2003)001[0023:PCEMEF]2.0.CO;2. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2003)001[0023:PCEMEF]2.0.CO;2.
  2. Bausch, Ken. 2008. Practical ethics for group decisions in complex situations. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 25, no. 2: 277-281. doi:10.1002/sres.885. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.885.
  3. Schafft, Kai A., and Davydd J. Greenwood. 2003. Promises and Dilemmas of Participation: Action Research, Search Conference Methodology, and Community Development. Journal of the Community Development Society 34, no. 1: 18. doi:10.1080/15575330309490101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15575330309490101.
  4. Espinosa, Angela, and Roger Harnden. 2006. Team syntegrity and democratic group decision making: theory and practice. Journal of the Operational Research Society 58, no. 8 (7): 1056-1064. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602261. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602261.
  5. Oels, Angela. 2002. Investigating the emotional roller‐coaster ride: a case study‐based assessment of the Future Search Conference design. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 19, no. 4: 347-355. doi:10.1002/sres.437. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.437.

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Cluster 5. Ecosystems, collapse, resilience

How can we appreciate resilience, as an alternative to the possibility of a system collapse?

Recommended articles:

  1. Allen, Timothy F. H., Joseph A. Tainter, and Thomas W. Hoekstra. 1999. Supply-side sustainability. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 16, no. 5: 403-427. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199909/10)16:5<403::AID-SRES335>3.0.CO;2-R. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199909/10)16:5<403::AID-SRES335>3.0.CO;2-R.
  2. Allen, Timothy F. H. 2009. Confronting economic profit with hierarchy theory: The concept of gain in ecology. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 26, no. 5: 583-599. doi:10.1002/sres.998. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.998.
  3. Odum, Howard T., and Elisabeth C. Odum. 2006. The prosperous way down. Energy 31, no. 1 (January): 21-32. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2004.05.012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2004.05.012.
  4. Holling, C. S. 2001. Understanding the Complexity of Economic, Ecological, and Social Systems. Ecosystems 4, no. 5: 390-405. doi:10.1007/s10021-001-0101-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10021-001-0101-5.
  5. Ostrom, Elinor. 2008. Polycentric Systems as One Approach for Solving Collective-Action Problems. Working Paper. SSRN. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1304697.
  6. Ostrom, Elinor. 2010. Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems. American Economic Review 100, no. 3: 641-672. doi:10.1257/aer.100.3.641. http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.100.3.641.

Recommended multimedia:

  1. Ostrom, Elinor. 2009. Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems. Web Video. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Stockholm, December 8. http://nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1223.
  2. Ostrom, Elinor. 2010. Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems. National University of Singapore, August 20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5ZPGeF2ics.

Recommended book chapters:

  1. Tainter, Joseph A. 1990. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge University Press, [preview at Google Books].
  2. Allen, Timothy F. H., Joseph A Tainter, and Thomas W. Hoekstra. 2003. Supply-side sustainability. New York: Columbia Univ Press, [preview at Google Books] .
  3. Gunderson, Lance H., and C. S. Holling. 2002. Resilience and Adaptive Cycles. In Panarchy: Understanding transformations in human and natural systems, ed. Lance H. Gunderson and C. S. Holling, 25-62. Island Press. [preview at Google Books]
  4. Gunderson, Lance H., C. S. Holling, and Gary D. Peterson. 2002. Sustainability and Panarchies. In Panarchy: Understanding transformations in human and natural systems, ed. Lance H. Gunderson and C. S. Holling, 63-102. Island Press. [preview at Google Books]
  5. Berkes, Fikret, and Carl Folke. 2002. Back to the Future: Ecosystem Dynamics and Local Knowledge. In Panarchy: Understanding transformations in human and natural systems, ed. Lance H. Gunderson and C. S. Holling, 121-146. Island Press. [preview at Google Books]
  6. Homer-Dixon, Thomas. 2006. The Upside of Down. Toronto: Knopf. [preview at Google Books]
  7. Brand, Stewart. 2009. Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. Viking. [preview at Google Books]

Extended articles:

  1. Tainter, Joseph. 1996. Complexity, Problem Solving and Sustainable Societies. In Getting down to earth: practical applications of ecological economics, ed. Robert Costanza, Olman Segura Bonilla, and Juan Martínez Alier. Island Press. http://dieoff.org/page134.htm.
  2. Carpenter, Stephen R. 2002. Ecological Futures: Building an Ecology of the Long Now. Ecology 83, no. 8: 2069-2083. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[2069:EFBAEO]2.0.CO;2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[2069:EFBAEO]2.0.CO;2.
  3. Folke, Carl, Thomas Hahn, Per Olsson, and Jon Norberg. 2005. Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30, no. 1: 441-473. doi:10.1146/annurev.energy.30.050504.144511. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.energy.30.050504.144511.
  4. Folke, Carl. 2006. Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change 16, no. 3: 253-267. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2006.04.002. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2006.04.002.
  5. Handoh, Itsuki C., and Toshitaka Hidaka. 2010. On the timescales of sustainability and futurability. Futures 42, no. 7 (September): 743-748. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2010.04.023. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2010.04.023.
  6. Ostrom, Elinor. 2009. A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems. Science 325, no. 5939: 419-422. doi:10.1126/science.1172133. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1172133.
  7. Ostrom, Elinor. 2009. A polycentric approach for coping with climate change. Policy Research Working Paper. World Bank. http://go.worldbank.org/X7M9CTVOD0.
  8. Duit, Andreas, Victor Galaz, Katarina Eckerberg, and Jonas Ebbesson. 2010. Governance, complexity, and resilience. Global Environmental Change 20, no. 3 (August): 363-368. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.04.006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.04.006.
  9. Laszlo, Alexander. 2010. Redefining success: designing systemic sustainable strategies. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 1: 3-21. doi:10.1002/sres.982. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.982.
  10. King, Christine A. 2008. Community resilience and contemporary agri‐ecological systems: reconnecting people and food, and people with people. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 25, no. 1: 111-124. doi:10.1002/sres.854. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.854.

Extended books:

Ecology and Society is an open access journal at http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/issues/

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Cluster 6. System design frameworks

How will we know when we've been successful?

Recommended articles:

  1. Miller, James Grier, and Jessie L. Miller. 1990. Introduction: The nature of living systems. Behavioral Science 35, no. 3: 157-163. doi:10.1002/bs.3830350301. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bs.3830350301.
  2. Miller, Jessie L. 1990. The timer. Behavioral Science 35, no. 3: 164-196. doi:10.1002/bs.3830350302. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bs.3830350302.
  3. Miller, Jessie L, and James Grier Miller. 1992. Greater than the sum of its parts. I. subsystems which process both matter‐energy and information. Behavioral Science 37, no. 1: 1-9. doi:10.1002/bs.3830370102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bs.3830370102.
  4. Miller, James Grier, and Jessie L. Miller. 1995. Applications of living systems theory. Systems Practice 8, no. 1: 19-45. doi:10.1007/BF02249174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02249174.
  5. Swanson, G. A., Kenneth D. Bailey, and James Grier Miller. 1997. Entropy, Social Entropy and Money: A Living Systems Theory Perspective. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 14, no. 1: 45-65. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199701/02)14:1<45::AID-SRES151>3.0.CO;2-Y. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199701/02)14:1<45::AID-SRES151>3.0.CO;2-Y.
  6. Louie, A.H. 2010. Robert Rosen's anticipatory systems. Foresight 12, no. 3: 18-29. doi:10.1108/14636681011049848. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14636681011049848.
  7. Rosen, Judith, and John Jay Kineman. 2005. Anticipatory systems and time: a new look at Rosennean complexity. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 22, no. 5: 399-412. doi:10.1002/sres.715. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.715.
  8. Rosen, Robert. 1987. On complex systems. European Journal of Operational Research 30, no. 2: 129-134. doi:10.1016/0377-2217(87)90089-0. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0377-2217(87)90089-0.
  9. Beer, Stafford. 1984. The Viable System Model: Its Provenance, Development, Methodology and Pathology. The Journal of the Operational Research Society 35, no. 1 (January): 7-25. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2581927.
  10. Schwaninger, Markus. 1990. Embodiments of organizational fitness: The Viable System Model (VSM) as a guide. Systems Practice 3, no. 3 (6): 249-264. doi:10.1007/BF01062731. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01062731.
  11. Leonard, Allenna. 2008. Integrating sustainability practices using the viable system model. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 25, no. 5: 643-654. doi:10.1002/sres.937. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.937.
  12. Nechansky, Helmut. 2010. The relationship between: Miller's living systems theory and Beer's viable systems theory. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 1: 97-112. doi:10.1002/sres.955. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.955.

Recommended books:

  1. Miller, James Grier. 1978. Living systems. McGraw-Hill. [preview at Google Books]
  2. x

Extended articles:

  1. Leonard, Allenna. 2006. Walking the Line: Making and Dissolving Distinctions with the Viable System Model and Team Syntegrity. In Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the ISSS. International Society for the Systems Sciences. http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings50th/article/viewArticle/307.
  2. Rosen, Robert. 1974. Planning, Management, Policies and Strategies: Four Fuzzy Concepts. International Journal of General Systems 1, no. 4: 245. doi:10.1080/03081077408960784. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03081077408960784.
  3. Adams, Denis, and Doug Haynes. 2007. Stafford Beer's contribution to management science – renewal and development. Kybernetes 36, no. 3: 437-450. doi:10.1108/03684920710747057. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03684920710747057.
  4. Harnden, Roger J. 1990. The languaging of models: The understanding and communication of models with particular reference to Stafford Beer's cybernetic model of organization structure. Systems Practice 3, no. 3: 289-302. doi:10.1007/BF01062733. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01062733.
  5. McDavid, Douglas W. 1999. A standard for business architecture description. IBM Systems Journal 38, no. 1: 12-31. doi:10.1147/sj.381.0012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1147/sj.381.0012.
  6. de Groot, R.S., R. Alkemade, L. Braat, L. Hein, and L. Willemen. 2010. Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making. Ecological Complexity 7, no. 3 (September): 260-272. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.10.006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.10.006.

Extended books/reports:

  1. European Communities. 2008. The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: An interim report. Ed. Pavan Sukhdev. http://www.teebweb.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=u2fMSQoWJf0%3d&tabid=1278&language=en-US.
  2. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: General Synthesis.  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Synthesis.aspx. This is a summary of the 3-volume report.  A "popularized version" is accessible as "Scientific Facts on Ecosystems Change" at http://www.greenfacts.org/en/ecosystems/index.htm
  3. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends. Ed. Rashid Hassan, Robert Scholes, and Neville Ash. Vol. 1.  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Condition.aspx#download.
  4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Scenarios. Ed. Steve R Carpenter, Prabhu L Pingali, Elena M Bennett, and Monika B Zurek. Vol. 2.  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Scenarios.aspx#download.
  5. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Policy Responses. Ed. Kanchan Chopra, Rik Leemans, Pushpam Kumar, and Henk Simons. Vol. 3.  Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Responses.aspx#download.
  6. Think tank in Denmark http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/CCC%20Home%20Page.aspx

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Cluster 7. Case study examples

Where are systems approaches evident (both explicitly and implicitly)?

a. UNESCO biospheres

  1. Nguyen, Nam C., Ockie J.H. Bosch, and Kambiz E. Maani. 2010. Creating ‘learning laboratories’ for sustainable development in biospheres: A systems thinking approach. Systems Research and Behavioral Science: earlyview. doi:10.1002/sres.1044. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.1044.

b. Eco-towns

  1. Four sites to become 'eco-towns' : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8152985.stm
  2. Bonham-Carter, Claire. 2009. Sustainable Communities in the UK. In Sustainable Communities, ed. Woodrow W. Clark, 135-153. New York, NY: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0219-1_10.
  3. Schumacher Society http://www.schumacher.org.uk/

c. Community-supported agricuture (CSAs)

  1. Resistance to the Farm Bill http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/food-fight-2007-farm-bill.

d. Local currencies

  1. Schumacher Society http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/local_currencies.html

e. Crowdsourcing / open source

  1. Open government data http://www.opengovdata.org/

f. Online Jams

  1. World Urban Forum. 2006. 70 Actionable Ideas. In Habitat Jam. Vancouver, BC, Canada. http://sustainablecities.net/projects-overview/projects-past/habitat-jam.

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