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Systemic preconditions and ontological modeling for peri-urban communities

Susu Nousala (Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai, China) (Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Blanca Galindo (Urban and Regional Science, KBGM Development, Bryan, Texas, USA)
David Romero (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City, Mexico)
Xin Feng (College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)
Pedro Aibeo (Department of Civil Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 31 July 2020

Issue publication date: 1 July 2021




This research presents an ontological model, to communicate the impact of dynamic preconditions for peri-urban communities. As such, this paper approaches perturbation communities as social-complex-adaptive-systems.


Previous assessment of dynamic preconditions have typically been based on top-down approaches. Through the lens of social-complex-adaptive and systemic design approaches (requiring a range of different disciplines), this work focuses on providing a broader view towards periurban research. The methodological approach involved academic literature, fieldwork observations, in-depth discussions with community, government, experts and research groups, focusing on a region called “Xochimilco” on the outskirts of Mexico City, a unique pre-Hispanic, Aztec ecosystem. This evolving man made agricultural/ecological structure of island plots, still provides environmental services to Mexico City. This region provides the basis of the research and subsequent ontological model. Ontology, in this instance, refers to the nature of being within a range of constraining dynamic forces relating to resilient behaviors of the current Xochimilco perturbation ecosystem.


Xochimilco can be considered as a longitudinal phenomenon that contributed to the understanding of observable resilient and precondition elements between the past and present of a living complex-adaptive-system.

Practical implications

The research has provided a better understanding of community resilience through preconditions, contributing towards preparation of environmental change and future urbanization. To this end, the research focused on visualizing key dynamics elements for communities attempting to absorb new urban conditions (being continuously pushed into it).


The outcomes of this research have provided specific systemic, bottom up approaches with ontological modeling to assist with visualizing and understanding intangible dynamic conditions that impact high complex areas of perturbation regions.



Funding: This paper is sponsored by Shanghai Pujiang Program 2019PJD053.


Nousala, S., Galindo, K.B., Romero, D., Feng, X. and Aibeo, P. (2021), "Systemic preconditions and ontological modeling for peri-urban communities", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 201-213.



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