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Understanding complexity: systems, emergence and evolution

Case study: the city (
Workshop)

27 -30 January 2014 :: San Isidoro :: León :: Spain

With this workshop, the PRIMER initiative continues its commitment to approach scientific domains and international institutions in order to face the complexity of current problems. San Isidoro provides an outstanding frame to think, discuss and understand how phenomena of high complexity -as it is the paradigmatic case of cities- can be tackled by intellectual means. Prof. Rainer Zimmermann (scholar at Munich and Cambridge), whose vast work crosses social, natural, humanistic and technical sciences offers -together with researchers of various origins- the opportunity of confronting the challenge posed to the educational and scientific realms: coping with the pressing problems of our globalised societies.

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Introduction

The problems that our contemporary societies are facing overwhelm the methods of the specialised scientific and professional disciplines. They demand –in order to harness our very existences– a decisive confrontation of the complexity in which our problems are rooted. The theory of systems offers a path for such confrontation whenever the crucial aspects of how complexity emerges, how it is structure, and how it evolves is properly addressed. Under this perspective the course aims at offering an introduction into the general foundations of systems with a view to the conceptualizing of energy and information, insofar as such conceptualizing can constitute a keystone for the effective articulation of scientific and practical disciplines. Such articulation is indeed the main goal of the European initiative PRIMER (PRomotion of Interdisciplinary Methodologies in Education and Research, http://primer.unileon.es) under which this event is convened, complementing other courses held during the past years.

The city constitutes a complex system example of particular interest in which almost all scientific and practical disciplines can be convened in order to exhaustively dealing with the dynamics of its complexity. Hence, the city will serve as paradigmatic case for the study of the emergence and dynamics of complex systems, addressing at the same time the relevant relation between design and ethics, which in urban planning is particularly clear.

Introductory Webinar: The social praxis in the theory of systems

The thematic will be fundamentally developed by Rainer Zimmermann, from the Munich University of Applied Sciences and Clare Hall of Cambridge and director of the Institut für Design Science, who has previously participated and co-organised other PRIMER events. In the Webinar here available, broadcasted from Munich in October 2013, Prof. Zimmermann discusses about the groundings of social praxis in the theory of systems, advancing the topics that will be further elaborated in León during the seminary "Understanding Complexity"Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, from the Swedish Mälardalen University, and J.M. Díaz Nafría will also contribute to the topic offering additional perspectives (s. programme).