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Event Series Event Series: System Dynamics

System Dynamics

November 8, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


System Dynamics

“Why do so many management and policy interventions fail? Why do many others fail to produce lasting results or even backfire and make problems worse? Why do some cities flourish while others stagnate and suffer from periodic crises?”

Tomorrow’s challenges will require us to manage complexity on a scale never before encountered. Modern policy problems are built on systems where many interacting parts, multiple feedback effects, long time delays, and nonlinear responses to our decisions create unanticipated and non-intuitive behavior. Learning how to act, plan, or govern in these environments is difficult precisely because we rarely see the full consequences of our most important decisions. In order to improve our communities, we need tools for seeing through the complexity; we need systems thinking, one of the most sought after skills in the management, policy, and planning professions today.

In this course, you will learn how to frame problems and understand systems in terms of interconnected networks of cause and effect. Together, we will explore why policy interventions work, fail, or completely backfire. We will examine why there is no such thing as a side-effect, and why systems often behave in unexpected and non-intuitive ways. You will learn how to forecast these behaviors and analyze their implications for important policy problems, such as energy and natural resource use, health, community equity, traffic congestion, and economic growth and competitiveness. You will come away from this course with the conceptual and analytical tools to represent complex problems in simple, yet holistic ways, while seeing the big picture in everything you do.

This course will introduce systems thinking and system dynamics computer simulation modeling. The broader goal of this course is to enhance your knowledge and skills in understanding and analyzing the complex feedback dynamics found in nearly all social, economic, and environmental problems. We will also spend substantial time studying how policy interventions affect the behavior and structure of systems.

Instructor Bio:
Todd BenDor is a Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research and teaching focus on developing ways to better understand and prevent impacts from urban growth on sensitive environmental systems. Much of his recent research has studied the social, economic, and ecological consequences of ecosystem service markets and ecological restoration regulations. He has also developed computer models to assess the opportunities and consequences of urban growth, as well as promote environmental conflict resolution. Professor BenDor is a faculty member in UNC’s Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology. He holds a B.S. from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. from Washington State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Register here

    Registrations will not be accepted on or after November 3, 2018.

  • Note: You may bring a laptop for this course but the software is installed on the classroom computers.

Registration Fees:

  • UNC Students – $25
  • UNC Faculty/Staff – $65
  • Non-UNC – $125

Cancellation/ Refund Policy: A full refund will be given to those who cancel their registration no later than 10 days prior to the course. If you cancel within the 10 days prior to the class, no refund will be given. Please allow 30 days to receive your refund.
Waitlist/ Walk-ins: There may be a waitlist for the courses. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Each attendee must register and pay prior to 3 days before the start of the course.


November 8, 2018
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category: