complexurban /

Complexity, Planning & Urbanism

New MArch Atelier at the Manchester School of Architecture: Developing new theoretical approaches & computational tools using a complexity science framework (systems, self-organisation, emergence, intelligence, structural change, adaptation) for the design, management, governance and understanding of future cities related to climate change, citizen participation, development strategies, resilient interventions, policy making, urban morphology and capacity management.

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Allowing the Informal – Urban Block – 001



Situated within the thesis project based in Jingdezhen in China, this is part of a series of studies that explores the possibility of the ‘informal’ (illegal/self built/un-taxed/unregulated rather than any purely visual or picturesque definition) within urbanism.

Jingdezhen is a city where the informal already exists due to historic growth and is currently dealt with either through gentrification and displacement of the current residents to city edge tower blocks, or a temporary masking of their existence using sign boards and plastic screens. This is not a unique situation, but what if the city could plan/design to include the informal?

(We shall leave the Perimeter blocks for another description and discuss the inside of the urban block model.)

A study into how emergence can be allowed and partially directed within urban territories by understanding the underlying rules.

New spatial types (geno-types) be they dwellings or urban spaces like squares or green areas will search for places along existing roads or infrastructure (various overlapping condition stes) to become situated (phaeno-types) that are allowed to adapt/change to their environments based on fixed variability parameters.

Spatial foorptints of particular types oganise across the territory through a search process and based on specified conditions to be met. This allows for a bottom up propogation of unpredictably varied urban types (rather than fixed typologies) as a scenario study of the rules to be specified in Top Down urban design which will yet allow for Bottom Up decisions and variations.

(See later blog for adaptability loops effectively negating geno-types as a stable value).

Student: Eric Cheung
Preliminary Experiments into Emergent Urbanism
Unit 6 YR 6
The University of Nottingham
Thesis Advisor: Ulysses Sengupta

04 December 2010
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