Revised 23 August 2021


  • By looking at settlements of ages past and gone we are able to develop a better understanding and insight as to the main factors which interact to influence the patterns of human settlements.

  • In 1968 Constantinos Doxiadis published his web publication Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements.

  • Ekistics provides a full and complete taxonomic system which facilitates the study of the physical, social, and organic nature of human settlements.

  • Doxiadis classifies human settlements by Ekistic units; elements, functions, evolutionary forces, and by factors and processes in accordance with the requirements of the particular study.

  • Ekistic units take into account the different scales of settlements. The logarithmic division of scale is based upon the population occupying a distinct settlement or homogeneous parts of the settlement.

  • Ekistic elements consist of Nature, Man, Society, Shells, and Networks. Each element is further sub-divided into sub-elements.

  • An Ekistic Grid of Ekistic Units and Ekistic Elements can show the coverage and extent of any particular study of human settlements.

  • According to Doxiadis, human settlements exist to make humankind happy and safe. He orders the five Ekistic Elements into a pentagon of goals with man, or humankind, at the top. 

  • If humankind is to continue to survive for millennia, then humankind should not attempt to dominate nature, but instead should regards itself as being a part of nature. 

  • Human settlements can be classified in terms of the Ekistic functions that an Ekistic unit serves.

  • This classification of Ekistic evolutionary forces is based upon a macro-scale of history where settlements are classified as being nomadic, agricultural, urban, urban-industrial, and industrial.

  • The classification of Ekistic Factors & Disciplines relates to the factors which contribute to the creation, maintenance, operation, and function of human settlements.

  • Doxiadis’ theory of the growth and development of human settlements in terms of statistical laws show a strong similarity with the growth of ecosystems.

  • Doxiadis coined the name Ecumenopolis for a global city of the future based on the world's population levelling out at 30 billion people by 2100.

  • It is doubtful whether Doxiadis in 1968 was aware that a human population of 30 billion people with a high level of consumption would far exceed the carrying capacity of our planet Earth.

  • The attributes of steady state settlements are listed in the final Section of the Chapter: Steady State Settlements. These attributes can be mapped onto an Ekistics Relationship Matrix which can then be used as a check list and catalyst for identifying and developing objectives, proposals, and policies required to ensure long-term sustainability of human settlements. All policies would need to be mutually supportive without conflict.