Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir
Chapter 13: The Dynamics of Regions and Networks in Industrial Ecosystems: Retrospect and Prospect
Brynhildur Davidsdottir and Matthias Ruth RETROSPECT 13.1 Industrial ecosystems are complex adaptive systems, built of both manmade and physical and natural components, which closely interact with, influence and are influenced by their economic, social and environmental surroundings. As fundamental cornerstones of human economies, the development of industrial ecosystems shapes regional and national economies and influences regional and national development. System change implies a change in the structure and functioning of industrial systems in addition to the extent and quality of the interactions with their surroundings as well. Such changes ripple through the entire system through dynamic, often non-linear, lagged and feedback-driven processes and thereby generate complex behaviors that may be difficult to foresee. Agents, such as producers and consumers, influence the behavior of industrial ecosystems through complex interaction networks. Such interactions take different forms such as cooperation, competition, symbiosis or predation with a self-interested objective in mind. At larger scales those interactions generally display more complexity due to heterogeneity of system components, agents and interactions, yet at smaller scales interaction between the system and the external natural and physical environment add increased complexity. Given the importance of industrial ecosystems to human and natural systems, an understanding of the complex network dynamics exhibited by industrial ecosystems is pertinent to successful industrial, economic and environmental management and for successful planning of sustainable futures. The scholarship of the dynamics of industrial ecosystems is still in its infancy and thus scattered in small bits and pieces throughout the literature. This volume has brought together...
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