Strategy in Complexity: the Shaping of Communities and Environments

Kristof Van Assche*, R. Beunen, Martijn Duineveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In our chapter, we reflect on the possibilities of purposeful community development in a non- linear understanding of society. We highlight the importance of strategy in a world where few planning rules and certainties seem to survive. This first of all requires a rethinking of what strategy is. In order to delineate possible strategies for community development, we discuss the links between community formation and the organization of space through planning, and from there, taking a distance from any pre-defined ideology or preferred planning form, deepen the discussion in the light of governance as a set of co-evolving actors, institutions, and power/knowledge configurations. Forms of organization are necessarily linked to and co-evolving with narratives on identity, community, and of governance itself. The web of co- evolutions does not preclude deliberate intervention however. We bring the concept of strategy into the discussion of newly delineating the deliberate in community reinvention through planning: which forms of strategy can work under the structural conditions revealed through the lens of complexity theory and governance theory? And how should strategy be understood in this context?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Planning and Complexity
EditorsGert De Roo, Claudia Yamu, Christian Zuidema
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781786439185
ISBN (Print)9781786439178
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020

Publication series

SeriesResearch Handbooks in Planning series


  • Strategy
  • planning
  • Development


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