Complexity, Cognition, Information and the City
Juval Portugali is Professor of Human Geography at the Department of Geography and the Human Environment Tel Aviv University. He is the Head of the Environmental Simulation Laboratory (ESLab) and of the Environment, Society and Planning Graduate Program of Tel Aviv University.
Abstract: The last decades have witnessed the emergence of CTC (complexity theories of cities) –a domain of research that applies the various complexity theories developed with respect to natural complex systems to the study of cities . While CTC have added important insight into our understanding of cities, they also entail a dual dilemma: Firstly, human beings, the parts of cities, fundamentally differ from the parts of natural complex systems. Secondly, unlike natural complex systems, cities are hybrid
complex systems composed, partly of artefacts (buildings, roads, etc.) which are essentially simple systems, and human agents which are themselves complex systems. The response to the first dilemma was to add the insight gained in cognitive science about human behaviour to the study of cities as complex systems, while to the second, to develop a theoretical approaches capable of modelling the dynamics of hybrid complex systems such as a city. The result of both responses are the notions of SIRN (synergetic inter-representation networks) , and IA (information adaptation) . In my talk I’ll follow the evolution of ideas
from complexity theory to CTC and then to SIRN and IA and the implications thereof to our understanding urban transformations through data.
•  Portugali, J. (2011). Complexity Cognition and the City.Springer, Heidelberg, Berlin.
•  Haken, H. and Portugali, J. (2015). Information Adaptation: The interplay between Shannonian and semantic information in cognition. Springer, Berlin. Springer Briefs series.