Constructal theory and its applications to various fields ranging from engineering to natural living and inanimate systems, and to social organization and economics, are reviewed in this paper. The constructal law states that if a system has freedom to morph it develops in time the flow architecture that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it. It is shown how constructal theory provides a unifying picture for the development of flow architectures in systems with internal flows (e.g., mass, heat, electricity, goods, and people). Early and recent works on constructal theory by various authors covering the fields of heat and mass transfer in engineered systems, inanimate flow structures (river basins, global circulations) living structures, social organization, and economics are reviewed. The relation between the constructal law and the thermodynamic optimization method of entropy generation minimization is outlined. The constructal law is a self-standing principle, which is distinct from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The place of the constructal law among other fundamental principles, such as the Second Law, the principle of least action and the principles of symmetry and invariance is also presented. The review ends with the epistemological and philosophical implications of the constructal law.

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