Revised 24 May 2019

According to Doxiadis, human settlements are systems which consist of five basic elements as follows. 

  • Nature
  • Man
  • Society
  • Shells
  • Networks

Nature provides the foundation upon which the settlement is created and the frame within which it can function. Nature includes geologic resources, topographical resources, soil resources, water resources, plant life, animal life, and climate. 

Man (or Humankind) is constantly adopting and changing to the forces of nature. 

Society comprises all those aspects that are commonly dealt with by economists, social sciences, political sciences, technological disciplines, and cultural disciplines. 

Shells, or the built environment, come within the traditional domain of architects and the engineering profession. 

Networks are the transportation and communications systems of humankind.

Each element in Table 1 is further subdivided into sub-elements. 

Table 2: Ekistic Elements (Doxiadis, 1968, p35)


  1. Geologic resources
  2. Topographic resources
  3. Soil resources
  4. Water resources
  5. Plant life
  6. Animal life
  7. Climate


  1. Biological needs
  2. Sensation and perceptions
  3. Emotional needs
  4. Moral


  1. Population composition and density
  2. Social stratification
  3. Cultural pattern
  4. Economic development
  5. Education
  6. Health and welfare
  7. Law and administration


  1. Housing
  2. Community services
  3. Shopping centres and markets
  4. Recreational facilities
  5. Civic and business centres
  6. Industry
  7. Transportation centres


  1. Water supply systems
  2. Power supply systems
  3. Transportation systems
  4. Communication systems
  5. Sewerage and drainage