Revised 27 August 2021

We must understand the process of irrational growth, decay, decline and death of the human settlement and its parts. Only when we understand the natural process can we adjust ourselves to every occasion and realise the specific requirements of all or part of the settlement we are dealing with. -  Constantinos Doxiadis 1968. 

In our search for the principles of steady state settlement patterns, we shall trace the development of human   settlements from the dawn of civilisation up until and including the industrial revolution. 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. The organisational patterns of human settlements are interrelated with the flow of energy and technological development. Studies of the energy flows and technology of human settlements are necessary in order to better understand the process of growth to steady state and the appropriate measures that can be taken to alleviate transition. 

In 1968 Constantinos Doxiadis published his web publication Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements. In any highly complex field of study there needs to be a systematic form of classification. Ekistics provides a full and complete taxonomic system which facilitates the study of the physical, social, and organic nature of human settlements. This section forms a condensed description of that taxonomic system.  

Doxiadis classifies human settlements in the following way: 

  • by Ekistic units
  • by Ekistic elements
  • by Ekistic functions
  • by Ekistic evolutionary forces
  • by factors and processes in accordance with the requirements of the particular study.