Complexity & Biourbanism: Thermodynamical Architectural & Urban Models Integrated in Modern Geographic Mapping

by Antonio Caperna and Eleni Tracada

Vital elements in urban fabric have been often suppressed for reasons of ‘style’. Recent theories, such as Biourbanism, suggest that cities risk becoming unstable and deprived of healthy social interactions. Our paper aims at exploring the reasons for which, fractal cities, which have being conceived as symmetries and patterns, can have scientifically proven and beneficial impact on human fitness of body and mind. During the last few decades, modern urban fabric lost some very important elements, only because urban design and planning turned out to be stylistic aerial views or new landscapes of iconic technological landmarks. Biourbanism attempts to re-establish lost values and balance, not only in urban fabric, but also in reinforcing human-oriented design principles in either micro or macro scale. Human life in cities and beyond emerges during ‘connectivity’ via geometrical continuity of grids and fractals, via path connectivity among highly active nodes, via exchange/movement of people and, finally via exchange of information (networks). All these elements form a hypercomplex system of several interconnected layers of a dynamic structure, all influencing each other in a non-linear manner.

Sometimes networks of communication at all levels may suffer from sudden collapse of dynamic patterns, which have been proved to be vital for a long time either to landscapes and cityscapes. We are now talking about negotiating boundaries between human activities, changes in geographic mapping and, mainly about sustainable systems to support continuous growth of communities. We are not only talking about simple lives (‘Bios’) as Urban Syntax (bio and socio-geometrical synthesis), but also about affinities between developing topographies created by roadways and trajectories and the built environment. We shall also have the opportunity to show recent applications of these theories in our postgraduate students’ work, such as a 3D model as a new method of cartography of the Island of Mauritius, with intend to highlight developments in topography and architecture through a series of historical important events and mutating socio-political and economical geographies. This model may be able to predict failures in proposed and/or activated models of expansion, which do not follow strictly morphogenetic and physiological design processes. The same kind of modelling is capable to enable recognition of ‘optimal forms’ at different feedback scales, which, through morphogenetic processes, guarantee an optimal systemic efficiency, and therefore quality of life.


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