PL 511 | Urban & Regional Planning
Slideshow developed by: Arch. Edeliza V. Macalandag, UAP Bohol Island State University | College of Architecture & Engineering

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
• the science of human settlements • includes regional, city, community planning and dwelling design • involves the study of all kinds of human settlements, with a view to geography and ecology — the physical environment — and human psychology and anthropology, and cultural, political, and occasionally aesthetics • coined by Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis in 1942

We are living through a crisis; and because we have failed to respond properly, we are heading towards a disaster. Our settlements are lagging behind the world's progress, our ideas are confused, we are moving without coordination and adjustment and we have not defined our role.
- Konstantinos A. Doxiados, Ekistics: An
Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements (1968)

Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis
• Greek architect and urban planner
(14 May 1914 - 28 June 1975)

• graduated from the Athens Technical University and later obtained a doctorate at Charlottenburg University, Berlin • began his career as Chief Town Planning Officer for the Greater Athens Area and later became Head of the Department of Regional and Town Planning in the Ministry of Public Works.

Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis
• After WWII, he founded Doxiadis Associates, a private consulting firm that undertook architectural and engineering projects throughout the world, specializing in implementing the principles of ekistics • The group lead the design of Islamabad, the planned capital of Pakistan, and also contributed significantly to national master plans in Ghana, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Greece.


Islamabad, Pakistan | One of Doxiadis’ best-known town planning work

Islamabad, Pakistan | The master plan of the city which was based on a grid plan and triangular in shape, with its apex towards the Margalla Hills

Islamabad, Pakistan | The master plan of the city which was based on a grid plan and triangular in shape, with its apex towards the Margalla Hills

Islamabad, Pakistan |

The plan for Islamabad, separates cars and people, allows easy and affordable access to public transport and utilities and permits low cost gradual expansion and growth without losing the human scale of his "communities"

Islamabad, Pakistan |

The plan for Islamabad, separates cars and people, allows easy and affordable access to public transport and utilities and permits low cost gradual expansion and growth without losing the human scale of his "communities"

Doxiadis was involved in the design of this new campus in Pakistan and used ekistic principles to create a campus he believed was built for true "human scale."
Doxiadis limited the number of roads on campus, banning them from the classroom areas. All the educational buildings are interconnected to permit people to walk from one to the other. Courtyards provide a place for meetings between people.

Punjab University, Lahore

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
• C.A. Doxiadis founded Ekistics as a science of human settlements, with a book on the subject published in 1968 (Doxiadis 1968). • It has become recognized as transdisciplinary because, with its development of overarching concepts like Ecumenopolis and Human Community, it goes beyond the idea of inter-disciplinarity.
Today we are familiar with another transdisciplinary term to which many disciplines relate, namely Sustainability.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
The notion of ekistics implies that understanding the interaction between and within human groups— infrastructure, agriculture, shelter, function (job) — in conjunction with their environment directly affects their well-being (individual and collective).

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
The subject begins to elucidate the ways in which collective settlements form and how they inter-relate. By doing so, humans begin to understand how they 'fit' into a species, i.e. homo sapiens, and how homo sapiens 'should' be living in order to manifest our potential—at least as far as this species is concerned

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Ekistics in some cases argues that in order for human settlements to expand efficiently and economically we must reorganize the way in which the villages, towns, cities, metropoli are formed.


Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
One of the primary tenets of Ekistics is the development of human settlements based on hexagonal infrastructures. Rectilinear urban planning is shown to fail miserably in the ability to efficiently handle the various zones (residential, commercial, and industrial) in ways that support people that are collectively and demonstrably well and fit (integrated and balanced spirit, mind, and body).

That the horrendous traffic in such places as Washington, DC and Los Angeles exist as a result of this type of 'methodology', or more aptly phrased a lack of foresight and control in urban design, is testament to the inability of rectilinear planning to adequately provide the means to effectively handle the growth of metropolitan settlements.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Noded and hierarchical hexagons (think of a structured bidirectional tree, or map, in computer science, a more geometric neural network, or the refinement (not the Baroque adornment) of the Academie des Beaux-arts D'architecture evolved into a hexagonal infrastructure), or weighted hexagons and connected based on their proximity (think of a circulatory system), relative importance to the central function of the settlement, e.g. a commercial center or an industrial sector, or 'neural center' (if you will), and flow of human bodies or material resources, not only provides for free-flowing circulation, but enables the expansion and promotion of hexagonal sectors to higher weights of arrangement as the settlements increases in population and/or importance.

"Human settlements are no longer satisfactory for their inhabitants.“
Doxiadis, Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements (1968: 5)

The problem, he concluded, was that the elements of contemporary cities, such as transportation, zoning and communication, were no longer in balance.
As a result, people suffered in cities that were too large, crowded and noisy, and that exacted too much damage on the surrounding natural environment. To solve these problems, Doxiadis proposed a new field of inquiry, the science of ekistics. Doxiadis envisioned ekistics, a name that derives from the ancient Greek term oikizo meaning "creating a settlement," as an interdisciplinary effort to "arrive at a proper conception and implementation of the facts, concepts, and ideas related to human settlement“ (1968: 15).

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Ekistics involves the descriptive study of all kinds of human settlements and the formulation of general conclusions aimed at achieving harmony between the inhabitants of a settlement and their physical and socio-cultural environments. Descriptive study involves the examination of the content, such as man alone or in societies, of a settlement, and the settlement container, or the physical settlement, composed of natural and human-made elements.

Descriptive study involves the examination of the content, such as man alone or in societies, of a settlement, and the settlement container, or the physical settlement, composed of natural and human-made elements.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
The examination of settlement content and the physical settlement involves the investigation of five basic elements of human settlement:

1. NATURE, including physical geography, soil resources, water resources, plant and animal life, and climate; 2. HUMAN biological and emotional needs, sensations and perceptions, and moral values; 3. SOCIETY, including population characteristics, social stratification, cultural patterns, economic development, education, health and welfare, and law and administration; 4. SHELLS, or structures, in which people live and function, such as housing, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and markets, recreational facilities, civic and business centres, and industries; 5. NETWORKS, or systems, that facilitate life and day-to-day functions of inhabitants such as water and power systems, transportation networks, communication systems, and the settlement’s physical layout.

N a ture

N e two rks

A n th r o po s

S h el ls

S o ciety

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
A result of the descriptive study of human settlement and its five basic elements are:

Settlement Classifications 1. according to the size and number of units which form the settlement; 2. permanency of the settlement or the degree to which it is continually inhabited; 3. method of settlement creation, such as a settlement that emerged or evolved naturally or one that was preconceived; and 4. the purpose or function, the most important form of settlement classification. The most common functional classifications are rural settlements, institutional settlements established for a specific purpose, and urban settlements.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Doxiadis believed that the conclusion from biological and social experience was clear:

“to avoid chaos we must organize our system of life from Anthropos (individual) to Ecumenopolis (global city) in hierarchical levels, represented by human settlements”
So he articulated a general hierarchical scale with fifteen levels of Ekistic Units.

Ekistic Units
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Anthropos Room House Housegroup (hamlet) Small neighborhood (village) Neighborhood Small polis (town) Polis (city) Small metropolis Metropolis Small megalopolis Megalopolis Small eperopolis Eperopolis Ecumenopolis – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Note: The population figures below are for Doxiadis' ideal future ekistic units for the year 2100 at which time he estimated (in 1968) that Earth would achieve zero population growth at a population of 50,000,000,000 with human civilization being powered by fusion energy.

1 2 5 40 250 1,500 10,000 75,000 500,000 4 million 25 million 150 million 750 million 7,500 million 50,000 million

Names of Units and Population Scale (final version, from C.A.Doxiadis' last book, ACTION for Human Settlements, p. 186, Athens Center of Ekistics, 1976)

Settlement Hierarchy ala Ekistics

Ecumeno polis




Note: This settlement hierarchy is adapted from the work of Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis for the actual current world situation as of 2010 as opposed to Doxiadis' idealized settlement hierarchy for the year 2100 that he outlined in his 1968 book Ekistics.

Large city

City Large town

Town Village

Isolated dwelling


Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 the entire area of Earth that is taken up by human settlements
As of the year 2009, the United Nations estimated that for the first time more than 50% of the world's populations lived in cities, so the total population of this area would be about 3,400,000,000 people as of 2010

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 a group of conurbations, consisting of more than ten million people each

View of Europe at night

Blue Banana

Liverpool–Manchester–Leeds–Birmingham-London-Brussels–Antwerp–Amsterdam–Rotterdam–The Hague–Luxembourg–Rhine-Ruhr–Frankfurt am Main–Munich–Stuttgart–Basel–Zürich–Turin–Milan

Blue Banana

Blue Banana

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 a group of large cities and their suburbs, consisting of three to ten million people
Also urban agglomeration

South Florida | Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 a large city and its suburbs consisting of multiple cities and towns.
The population is usually one to three million.


Beunos Aires


Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

Large City
 a city with a large population and many services.
The population is less 1 million people but over 300,000 people

Malmö, Sweden


Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 a city would have abundant services, but not as many as a large city.
The population of a city is over 100,000 people up to 300,000.
Strobl, Austria

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

Large Town
 has a population of 20,000 to 100,000

Çeşme, Turkey | 40,700 (2006)

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 has a population of 1,000 to 20,000

Davos | 11,166 (2010)

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 a village generally does not have many services, possibly only a small corner shop or post office.
A village has a population of 100 to 1,000.

Masouleh village, Gilan Province, Iran | 554 (2006)

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

 has a tiny population (<100) and very few (if any) services, and few buildings

Waldkirch, Switzerland

Settlement Hierarchy | Ekistic Units

Isolated Dwelling
 has 1 or 2 buildings or families in it, with negligible services, if any

Settlement Hierarchy

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
The descriptive study of human settlements also analyzes the anatomy of the settlement.

Settlements or parts of settlements can be classified according to their:

1. Degree of functional homogeneity, 2. Type and number of central place functions, 3. The circulatory patterns found within the settlement, or 4. Any special function or purpose observable in the settlement.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
The main purpose or function of a settlement can serve to categorize the settlement as a homogeneous region, such as a single farmstead classified as a homogeneous agricultural region or a bedroom community identified as a homogeneous residential region. Human settlements can be identified as central places that function as marketplaces, administrative centres, and social and cultural meeting places serving surrounding hinterlands. Circulatory patterns unite settlements by providing transport of people, goods, and information along lines of circulation such as roads. Nodal regions, or settlements, often form at the intersection of circulatory lines. Unique functions observable within a settlement sometimes are identified as a special settlement area, such as an army camp within a larger residential settlement or a large factory or business in the midst of a relatively homogeneous residential area. Most human settlements possess some form of all these types at some geographic scale.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
It is important to remember though that the ekistical planning and development of human settlements based on such a scientific approach need not be considered a conversion into a collective machine.
Rather, Ekistics provides the means by which individual settlements based on their ethnic background and geographic location to incorporate their heritage while arranging it in a manner that supports their collective intent.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Literally, much of the wasted time and resources can be significantly reduced so that the duty of the individual can be smoothly performed in order to allow ample time for the creative quality-of-life (story-telling, the arts - martial, applied, and fine -, cultivation of one's relationship with nature, relaxation time, and conversation, etc.), to emerge by means of the interpersonal relationships within and between settlement(s).

Essentially, the structure of Ekistics enables humans to synergize their cultural heritage with technological evolution.

Ekistics /ɪˈkɪstɪks/
Unlike other disciplines or sciences interested primarily in one element of human settlement—such as society (sociology) or shells (architecture or engineering)—ekistic study draws upon the knowledge of economics, social science, technical disciplines, and cultural disciplines. Two fields of study closely allied to ekistics are urban geography and regional science, but neither claims the comprehensive approach advocated in ekistics. By drawing from the knowledge of other fields of study in the classification and anatomical study of human settlements, ekistics seeks to draw general conclusions or formulate theories or laws that can be used by builders, planners, architects, engineers, and other creators of human settlements in prescriptive action to cure the maladies of existing settlements and prevent such ills in future settlements.

Doxiadis, C.A. Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. Doxiadis, C.A. Anthropopolis: City for Human Development. New York: W.W. Norton, 1974.

Doxiadis, C.A. Ecumenopolis: The Inevitable City of the Future. With J.G. Papaioannou. Athens: Athens Center of Ekistics, 1974.
Doxiadis, C.A. Action for Human Settlements. New York: W.W. Norton, 1976. ekistics. (2012). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/181636/ekistics

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