Toward philosophies and methods for planning, design, and management of environmental systems
Turk, Harold Jeffrey
MetadataShow full item record
ABSTRACT This work builds a qualitative and quantitative case that additional planning, design and management philosophies other than those based on reduction are necessary to begin to holistically and benignly integrate current human constructions into nature. Further it makes a substantive case that ecological systems fall into a unique category of system types, interdependent complex systems, which differ significantly from the system types that typically describe mechanistic systems. Thus, contextually contrasting ecological systems and mechanistic systems using the Socratic Method by dialectically comparing mechanism versus ecology through reductive versus system thinking dichotomies and direct versus indirect causalities each indicating how mechanical and living systems are opposite ends of a spectrum. It identifies that the current Newtonian stratagem of analysis and hence design are inadequate for the planning and construction of natural living systems. Further, this work significantly looked at the proliferation of system connectivity and interdependence as the system operates over time by examining a Neuse River Estuary, NC model and various other models of ecological systems. These models evidence increasing connectivity or coupling of ecological system components providing the quantitative weight that further substantiates that planning and design of ecological systems requires different methods other than those often employed in engineering design. It suggests that the methods needed are the diametric opposite of those used in traditional engineering. Thus, building on the qualitative and quantitative evidence presented in this work which indicated that ecological systems had qualities and behaviors that are the opposite of traditionally engineered systems, this work extrapolates that argument to planning and design and proposes a design philosophy, axioms, and corollaries for environmental systems. Lastly, this work investigated eigenvalues as the key mathematical quantities that map to system emergent properties. The investigation and the resulting data indicated, however, that matrices of similar size, components, inputs, stocks, and outputs with identical eigenvalues returned a variety of network properties. Nonetheless, eigenvalues and inverse matrix methods still perhaps provide an initial step toward the planning and design of environmental systems.