The Adaptive & Morphogenetic City

In 1961 Jane Jacobs set the grounds of cities as complex problems, complexity generated by citizens and their mixed uses, decisions and life patterns.

It is currently acknowledged that two major errors in urban planning approach have been made in the recent past. The first one (in the 50’s and 60’s) was to conceive the idea of planning as a completely defined and described system; the second one (in the 90’s), was to conceive the idea of planning as a result of the guidelines established by the free market principles to determine the distribution of resources and city decision-making.

Both focuses have reached current city design by the research scenario in the last five years. Yet only since the 90’s have we had the technology to develop this new idea of the city that was proposed by Jacobs in the 60’s and its implications, and along with the emergence of Big Data and the internet, have we been able to properly study cities as the complex systems Jacobs described.

Jane Jacobs was an urban theorist very well known for her influence in urban studies. Her best-known book, The Death and Life of great American cities, argued against the schematic ideal models that in her opinion produced the destruction of the public space and did not cover the needs of the citizens.

Big Data and the Internet have completely transformed the interaction between citizens and their habitat. The total population living in cities will grow from 3.8 to 6.8 billion in the next few years, so it is clear that a new approach is needed to make cities more sustainable and efficient. Future city development is starting to be studied based on this very new transformation in citizenship interaction with data, existing an urge for the development of new city design methods through the understanding of this new paradigm.

Leave a Reply