Revised 24 May 2019

In a summary of the Ecological Systems section, the growth and climax stage attributes of ecological systems are listed in a table. Human settlements also form a system and there are strong similarities between ecosystems and 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’ Ekistic theory of the growth and development of human settlement is based on: 

  • existing settlements 
  • extinct settlements
  • critical interpretation of the phenomena of these settlements 
  • theoretical models the validity of which has been checked but
  • with existing settlements. 
  • tests and experiments carried out in existing settlements. 

The following is a list of Doxiadis’ statistical laws of human settlement development that I considered to be the most relevant: 


LAW 7 The development and renewal of human settlements is a continuous process. If it stops, conditions leading to death are created; but how long the actual death will take depends on humankind factors. 

LAW 13 Time is a factor necessary for the development of settlements. As such it is inherent in settlements and is physically expressed in them.


LAW 15 The gradual death of a settlement begins when the settlement no longer serves and satisfies some of the basic needs of its inhabitants or of society in general.

LAW 17 In the death process of a settlement its elements do not die simultaneously. The same holds true for the values that it represents. As a consequence, the settlement as a whole has much greater chances of surviving and developing through renewal even if some of its elements are dying. 

LAW 19 The death process of a settlement is complete when every reason for its life has ceased to exist, or when the facilities it provided have been made in a location which can be approached more easily, or which can provide them to a higher degree.


LAW 21 The elements in each part of a settlement tend toward balance.

LAW 22 The balance among the elements of a settlement is dynamic. 

LAW 23 The balance of the elements is expressed in a different way in each phase of the creation and evolution of a settlement.


LAW 28 The population size of a settlement depends upon its role in servicing certain needs for its inhabitants and for its Ekistic system. 

LAW 29 The physical size of a settlement depends upon its population, its needs, its role within the Ekistic system and its topographic location. 


LAW 30 The functions depend upon the geographic and topographic location, the population size and the Ekistic role of the settlement. 

LAW 31 The role of a settlement in the Ekistic system depends on its function, its geographic location and its population size.


LAW 34 All communities, and therefore, all Ekistic units tend to be connected to each other in a hierarchical manner.

LAW 35 The fact that all communities tend to be connected in a hierarchical manner does not mean that this connection is an exclusive one. Many other connections at the same level or at different ones are equally possible, but for organisational purposes the connections are hierarchical.

LAW 37 The type of services and the satisfaction provided by every Ekistic unit, community and function of a higher order to those of a lower order depend upon time-distance and cost-distance.


LAW 40 The main force which shapes human settlements physically is the tendency towards a close interrelationship of all its parts. 

LAW 44 The form of a settlement is determined by a combInation of the central, linear and undetermined forces in adjustment to the landscape and in accordance with its positive and negative characteristics. 

LAW 45 A settlement grows in the areas of greatest attraction and least resistance.

LAW 47 Another force which exercises an influence on the form of a settlement is the tendency towards an orderly pattern.

LAW 50 The right form for a human settlement is that which best expresses all the static positions and dynamic movements of man, animals and machines within its space. 

LAW 52 The densities in a settlement or in any of its parts depend upon the forces which are exercised upon it. 

LAW 54 The satisfaction derived from the services provided by the Ekistic unit to the inhabitants greatly depends upon the proper density of the settlement.” Doxiadis (1968, pp288-316)