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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This chapter Urban Morphology: Incorporating Complexity and Variation, has been available as part of the book Urban Change: The Prospect of Transformation (UN-HABITAT & Wroclaw University) for some time now, but I was made aware that it is difficult to find it online and have decided to make it available here as a resource. Please use the link below to get a hard copy or a good quality pdf of the whole publication. (Click more than once on the page you wish to read to zoom in)

Author: Ulysses Sengupta
Contributors: Eric Cheung, Lenard Wong, Noriko Matsuda, Qiao Yang, John Lynch, Angel Gonzales, Nde Forcob

The rapid rate of urbanisation today has resulted in extreme changes to the physical fabric of many cities with the only constant being the increasing rate of change. In developing parts of the World urban territories undergoing constant, sudden and drastic changes in topology due to market led planning and gentrification compete with the speed of rapidly growing informal urban settlements. The failure of most current urban planning and design tools are primarily an inability to address processes of change over time and a powerlessness to genuinely incorporate ground up and emergent urban processes. How does one design for the unplanned? How does one attempt to influence constant change?

This is a short introduction to a number of temporal design tools that were developed in an attempt to incorporate complex behaviour into the design of morphological urban territories.


Sengupta, Ulysses (2011) Urban Morphology: Incorporating Complexity and Variation. In: Mironowicz, I. and Ryser, J., (eds.) Urban change: the prospect of transformation. UN-HABITAT & Wroclaw University of Technology, Nairobi/Wroclaw, pp. 180-189.

07 August 2012
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