Complex Adaptive Systems & Urban Morphogenesis

Complexity Digest

This thesis looks at how cities operate as Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). It focuses on how certain characteristics of urban form can support an urban environment’s capacity to self-organize, enabling emergent features to appear that, while unplanned, remain highly functional. The research is predicated on the notion that CAS processes operate across diverse domains: that they are ‘generalized’ or ‘universal’. The goal of the dissertation is then to determine how such generalized principles might ‘play out’ within the urban fabric. The main thrust of the work is to unpack how elements of the urban fabric might be considered as elements of a complex system and then identify how one might design these elements in a more deliberate manner, such that they hold a greater embedded capacity to respond to changing urban forces. The research is further predicated on the notion that, while such responses are both imbricated with, and stewarded…

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