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Computational thinking, design and urban space

opening class

Silvestre Joaquim

on 3 July 2014

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Transcript of Computational thinking, design and urban space

designing and solving problem

information science (computer science)
information processing (network science)
Urban Space
architecture - society - environment - system
Urban space (architecture, society/public space, environment) in regards to the influence of social communication.
Impact of the technology for realizing the environment in the real world
visual recognition
information technology
3D space modeling
design science
parametric design
simulation technology
algorithmic design
Thing you are going to think about in this class:

The nature of 3D modeling design.
the role of network system in urban space.
the effect of programming in the design process.
the change induced by information industrialization.
τημα (systeσύσma)
System : set of correlated principles, facts, ideas, etc.

syn mean together "σύν" <syn>

histemi > stema : cause to stand > sta : to stand

a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole (Britanica)

Designing the roof truss in BASIC during a competition at the time of the Maki lab at Tokyo University in 1987.
The program was automated drawing system of the path of the truss.

First encounter with the three-dimensional modeling
Kirishima International Music Hall (1994)

Structure and equipment draw made by the staff
Difficult to study the model and drawing
The challenge of designing in three-dimensional at Fumihiko Maki office in 1994

Without, it will be difficult to explain the model and drawing.
The 3D-CAD design was a media to transmit information to the constructor

It presents clear advantage for presenting three-dimensional design.
Computer graphics
SFC Design studio (2000)

When I move to SFC, I was willing to think about architecture and urbanism of the network society
To think about the correspondence between the decentralized system of information environment and the physical environment
SFC design studio was an occasion to make a study on a small-scale distributed workplace for design.
The function of the building should correspond to the use and organization of the network society.
The architectural system correspond to an autonomous, distributed and collaborative model according to the social behavior of our time.
Environmental technology × × building technology information technology are the inspiration for this design.

The information technology affect the building technology in many other ways.
a temporal effortless wood structure experiment with more than 500 pieces of plywood panels

Parametric modeling allow to manage together the data of various component shape
Non-localized in a non-homogeneous pattern can be explored with Algorithmic design.
Temporary construction that allows manual assembly technique
Computer Aided Handmaid

The world can be understood as a constant flux of data

Algorithmic Architecture, Harvard press
Kostas Terzidis   
Information exchange in the urban space is a self-organizing system
How to create urban space as a complex system?
What does it means to create diversity ?
Housing development in Fujyen,China
3500 dwelling units, 10,000 residents

It maintain community and diversity
Cityscape of old Japan
Study of organic system of the city:
Repetition and experience accumulated over the history
“A city is not a tree.”
Christopher Alexander 1965

metabolism aspect of the city is a never ending process.
New street of Kyoto
group and shape / form
As a third and final point, we should recognize that density, which causes interactions between the actors within spaces, is necessary for the functioning of the city as a system. Steven Johnson, author of “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software”, ranges over historical examples of such smart interconnectivity to the important role of human scale streets to facilitate communication that Jane Jacob's describes in her book " The Death and Life of Great American Cities"

It is possible to presume these urban phenomena emerge as an artifact of our complex human society, which is itself a complex system. But we should realize the more distinctive aspects of urban space which are different from the swarms of fish or birds.
The urban space itself is not alive. It is the result of the activity of living people and their societies.

However it is not enough to say that urban space is a simple reflection of activity, because people easily learn from-and adapt to existing urban spaces even though they do not know who made them. In other words urban space is a media to connect people with each other like a common text they are sharing in their everyday life. Information in urban space is read, added to, erased, and edited every day by living people much like a social network hosted on the internet

People who interested in a particular piece of information gather to a particular place and begin the process of recursive concentration by increasing the amount of “information” at that place. This mechanism explains the accumulation of specialized functions and specific atmosphere in urban areas such as in Akihabara in Tokyo. In this way the city is a kind of social media and it maintain its life by adding and replacing its parts according to accumulated functions or atmosphere in the space.
A complex system will work most effectively when its metabolism is active. That is why we often observe the phenomenon of complex systems in busy commercial areas with temporary facilities such as a market. In this case if we are to accelerate the metabolic process, the need for temporary structures is important

City of the mechanical system
The "shining city," (cité radieuse)
of Le Corbusier / plan voisin
former attempt to systematize the city had a very mechanical and radical approach. It was the result of a over rational age that was to presumptuous and disregard to the error of the past.
The city?
Complexity and diversity of Venice
Two questions arise in our mind. How can we design this complex system artificially, and what is an advantage of doing so?
This takes us back to the topic of the difficulty of designing diversity, and in response we suggest a case study, showing the computer simulation of a complex system may offer some answers.

Housing development un Fujyen,China,
3500 dwelling units, 10.000 residents
As an architect, when I had the opportunity to design large-scale housing development in china with 3500 dwelling units, I was worried about forcing the 10,000 residents to live in homogeneous spaces.
On the other hand we only had few months to complete the design because our client rushed the project schedule.

In their experience, the truncated schedule was reasonable if we multiplied the same unit design within the individual buildings, and multiplied the buildings within the master plan. During construction the same argument is valid.
There is both a rational and economic argument to be made for repeating a single design in mass construction. In the face of that rational designing for diversity is particularly difficult.

More importantly this scale and approach to housing development is typical in China. An enormous number of similar projects have already been built in this way and more will be built from now on, as there is a strong demand for housing caused by rapid population growth in Chinese cities. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our project was suspended as a result of financial problems on the developer’s side.

The experience was memorable however and we were reminded that lack of diversity is a common problem in urban designs created during periods of rapid urbanization - a situation that has been repeated in many places around the world during the last century, including Japan.

In order to take on this problem our first strategy was to overlay different layers of function to create small scale spatial character in the master plan.
Our second strategy was to develop the height and placement of the housing towers as inter-related whole.

Thirdly, we introduced the idea of randomizing the allocation of several types of housing units within a rational structural frame.

However, we still felt some doubt about the rationality of our approach since we introduced many arbitrary elements but needed to explain the need for this approach beyond arguing for the creation of a good aesthetic effect or creation of a pleasing atmosphere. That contradiction between intention and the arbitrariness of the design decisions is the true difficulty with including diversity in design.

These old cities also share a reputation for coherence as large urban places. The sense of unity is a strong defining characteristic and people often insist on excluding elements that do not fit the existing pattern and complain about the inconsistency of recent urban spaces. This insistence seems to assure that new urban fragments are both similar and diverse at the same time.

In this way, two new questions arise. How do these examples work to create a balance between diversity and similarity without any instructions or regulations? And at what time in its development should a city be prohibited from changing any further?

Living cities are by definition unfinished and growth cannot be accomplished without accepting the addition of new kinds of urban elements. These are introduced first at the small scale, and are gradually extended, adding to, and replacing portions of the total organism as required for function or based on other needs.
In this sense, a city cannot be finished and we need to consider the changing system instead of referring to a blueprint or image of the final form. Assuming there is a system in these examples that balances diversity with coherency in the growth of its urban spaces, we also presume that the system is defined by a self-organizing process that works over long periods.
Self-organization: A group of organic elements have the ability to build by themselves an “
” of the whole by means of their setting up in system.
Tolerance to diversity: Like each leaves that compose a big tree, there is
through some degree of freedom in their shape. It ensure a diversity and variability
Biological structure that existent from old time as architectural design spontaneously pop up naturally during growth of the city.
The self-organization of a city is a relation between parts and whole.
Compositional Form Mega Form and Group Form (Maki 1960)

Weather phenomena
Animal group behavior

growth and distribution of vegetation
Urban growth
Information science as a System study, information technology as a construction system
Complex systems simulation of self-organization
Considering the environment as a dynamic direct attention on the type of change in their kinetics rather than the form in which things transit.
Boids (Craig Raynolds 1987)

Multi-agent simulation
Optimization technique by Swarm Intelligence
Urban growth (city of Idris Morocco)
U.Abe Y,ikeda 2010

Case study-3 Self-organized residential area

This computer program was developed to simulate the model of residential area planning approximated by self-organization with graduate shift of time. By the iteration of developing and execution of the simulation, both the rules and the overall output were amended focusing on the invention of this method. To design a growth of self-organization an optimized result at one point of time is insufficient, but to design an automated system that optimizes the result with a width of time modified throughout the deliberate change of the atmosphere is necessary.
Resulting shape of swarm interaction
Is it possible to design the system of a city?
The city of Fez Morocco
Similarly just as a swarm of fish or birds is shaped by a very simple rule in an Islamic city such as Fes in Morocco, people rely on a number of rules that allow them to exchange private space and access to natural light and air even though these elements are found above the street. It is provocative that these kinds of neighborly interactions only occur when the distance between actors is close.

The city as a self-organization of the information
-information media as city space
City ( public space and private space) are becoming an information reorganization system.
Stephen Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
Atlas of Rare City Maps: Comparative Urban Design, 1830-1842

The city is intended for :
Concentrating the residences of the people.
Defenses for a group of people
center of commerce and distribution of goods
share and pool resources for daily life.(water, food, energy)
historical and memorial accumulation in regions
intensive production and manufacture of goods.
Time scale
interaction rule
adaptation target factor
emergent unity
Basic elements of a multi-agent system
Public space of high-density cities orient human activity as social media
Herbert Simons (economist) 1969
The science of Aritficial
Scientific design is essentially build system to verify and discover through the simulation
The concept of design and the origin of the system theory.
General systems theory
Ludwig von Bertalanffy 1947 ( biologist)
Non living things, living things, mental process, general principle of social process
Science of system
action / movement /behavior
Impact on how to design and envisions thinking the space environment.
designing and solving problem
information science (computer science)
information processing (network science)
Urban Space
architecture - society - environment - system
Information management of unique parts produced by tilling an irregular surface.
In building technology, non-homogeneous and non-uneven distribution can be more reasonable than conventional solution.
A high degree of similarity is more valuable than identical piece.
MVRDV/DSD Space Fighter
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