Abstract for: The Relevance of Urban Dynamics to Singapore’s Success Story: Lessons for Moving Beyond the Crisis

This paper seeks answers to a question implicit the 28th International System Dynamics Conference Program theme, “how can humankind move ‘Beyond the Crisis’ towards political economies that are more resilient, sustainable and humane?” Its focus is cities, which are seen both as principal loci of the crisis and pointing paths to moving behind it. Those concerned with urban challenges need new ways of viewing the problems they face. In seeking new ways, they should consider what Louis Alfeld has called “perhaps the most insightful System Dynamics application every developed,” Jay Forrester’s urban dynamics model. This representation of cities as living systems, seeking equilibrium with their environments, offers lessons that are timeless, and needed. A notable development success story, Singapore, illustrates applications of these lessons by leaders who were not even familiar with Forrester’s work. This further highlights the value and contemporary relevance of Urban Dynamics’ worldview.