The application of the concept of self-organization has grown over time in the field of urban planning, but with various interpretations. This article presents a systematic review that aims to uncover whether different uses of self-organization are tied to epistemic communities. Through coding and bibliographical analysis, it became apparent that there are two epistemic communities that emphasize different conceptualizations of self-organization. They investigate different issues, use different methods, and find different results. At the one hand, authors use self-organization in modeling approaches, particularly revolving around topics such as economic geography and urban growth. At the other hand, authors use self-organization as surrogate for self-governance, often studied with qualitative methods.

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Journal of Planning Literature
Department of Sociology

de Bruijn, E. (Ewald), & Gerrits, L. (2018). Epistemic Communities in Urban Self-organization: A Systematic Review and Assessment. Journal of Planning Literature, 33(3), 310–328. doi:10.1177/0885412218794083