Tailoring nudges to self-organising behavioural patterns in public space

Gert de Roo, Koen Bandsma*, Ward Rauws

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This contribution explores the use of nudging in interfering in the desired and undesired behavioural patterns in public space. Using nudging to influence the reproduction and transformation of such patterns is a valuable strategy for urban planners in improving the quality of public space and the well-being within neighbourhoods. This contribution shows that nudges are especially effective for those patterns that are relatively unstable as a consequence of socio-psychological frictions in agent’s behaviour. Unpacking how the level of stability of behavioural patterns fluctuates through a self-organisation perspective, three nudge archetypes are proposed: nudges for triggering pattern transformations, for stimulating the coordination among agents or for promoting the reproduction of patterns. These archetypes allow urban planners to tailor their nudge designs to fluctuations in the level of stability to increase the likelihood that desired patterns are produced or reproduced.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Cities and Complexity
EditorsJuval Portugali
Place of PublicationCheltenham (UK)
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781789900125
ISBN (Print)9781789900118
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2021

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Urban Studies


  • Spatial Planning,
  • Complexity
  • Self-organization
  • Nudging

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