Thoughts on how to get from seeds to evolutionary planning

there is some overlap between this and my last post but I think I clarified my thoughts after speaking to Bond tonight

Thinking about the seed and what the seed is:

The seed is the potential city. Like a seed, the potential city needs a place and needs certain natural resources to grow. The type of city the seed will grow into will be determined by the genetic make-up of the seed and the context that the seed grows into (geographical context, historical factors, spatial factors, cultural, customary etc). The genes of the seed (planning intentions; city design; urban ordering; planning instruments) will determine not only the shape and appearance of the city that grows from the seed but its resilience to outside challenges. What we have to do as planners is to provide the best possible genes for cities to grow. Evolutionary planning is an important aspect of resilient city genetics.

I think it’s interesting to think about this aspect of the seeding metaphor in terms of the relationship between macro/micro or top-down/bottom-up city-building because it really feeds into what you were all talking about the way archetypes for individual houses shape city-blocks which shape the city structure. I think this understanding of city “genetics” and seeds captures the dialectic of top-down and bottom-up influences on city-building well. The top-down aspects of genetics provide a framework for people to act as individuals to produce certain results. I think these points are important and can really clarify the differences and overlaps with morphological theories and complexities theories that Bond talks about in the most recent modular argument draft.

We could possibly say that current cities are also seeds in that they are dynamic and always changing as a result of these forces. Using the example of Shanghai, we can see that there is the Shanghai of today, yesterday and tomorrow. There is overlap and time-lag but there is no denying that this milieu of forces impacts on Shanghai to change it over time. Those changes have the potential to make Shanghai more or less carbon-efficient, water-efficient, and resilient to the environmental and social challenges that lie ahead. I suppose these changes to an established city can be understood as mutations of the city’s genes.
I think this understanding of city genes fits in well with the modular argument Bond has been developing
The ideas above can be incorporated into the beginning ===Seeding Satellites=== block

In the ===discovery of duplication=== block we can discuss China’s policy and the genes of the cities China is seeding – copy and paste planning and the conditions for MUD etc. – would fall under what’s currently titled the Definition/Thought model (green edge/urban gravity). I think the idea that in China, there are no new cities because it’s all a brownfield is really important too because it presents an internal contradiction of current planning in China. I don’t think it’s the whole point though and although we’re keeping the argument modular and not in narrative form, I think it would be logical to approach the duplication block in the order:

What is duplication/definitions

(this could be discussion of new cities policy, Shenzen)
then ====genes and context of the “new towns”==== (this could be where we talk about the way the “genes’ of these cities create the conditions for sprawl, the context of the new towns is where we could talk about the “there are no new cities/China as a brownfield” arguments –but maybe we would have already talked about this in the last chapter and we can just mention it?)

Then finally in ===Beyond Sprawl/Unlearning Planning Principles=== we can talk about what kind of genes cities need to face future challenges. This could lead us into evolutionary planning chapter

Posted by Jessica Noyes / 6.4 years ago / 8572 hits

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