Keywords: complexity, endogenous and exogenous forces, non-linearity, process and mechanism, urban environmental evolution
The process and mechanism of urban environmental change: an evolutionary view
This paper discusses how an evolutionary viewpoint can contribute to the understanding of the processes and mechanisms of urban environmental change. There are four major components in the urban environmental evolution concept: (a) cities can be viewed as complex systems that are subject to constant change, which constitutes a dynamic evolutionary process; (b) urban environmental profiles of cities are diverse, but there are certain commonalities in the longitudinal dynamics among different cities; (c) nevertheless, there is a strong non-linearity in the trajectories of the environmental evolution of cities, rather than there being a fixed common pattern; (d) the trajectory is shaped by a unique combination of endogenous and exogenous forces, reflecting both the outer pressures and the responses within the city. The evolutionary perspective has important policy implications by emphasising the possibility for cities in developing countries to follow a more environmentally sound pathway to sustainable development.