(Over) designed layouts and urban complexity: uncovering disurban spatial patterns in later urban growths and their impact on the city’s part-whole structure.

Authors: Melissa Barrientos*, The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Designed spatial patterns, Urban Complexity, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Urban Morphology, Network Science.
Session Type: Paper
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Cities are complex systems, organised through highly elaborated schemes of interactions and collaborations between urban elements, subsystems and the structure as a whole, all in a constant self-similar adjustment helped by spontaneous changes conducted from the bottom-up. The correspondence in the way elements are physically arranged at local scale in relation to larger scales is fundamental to allow change and for the city to be integrated. When new areas are constructed an initial mismatch with the pre-existent urbanity might be expected, as newer layouts contrast with the complexity reached in inner areas over time, impacting the new areas and the city’s form, functioning and dynamics. Even though this disparity is usually overcome while the added layouts adapt from the local changes, later urban growths, especially when highly designed, appear to challenge the structural correspondence by building over simple structures with highly ordered principles, lacking the complexity and flexibility needed to integrate the city. To understand the physical structure of later developments and their correspondence within the city, the basic urban components -buildings, plots, blocks and streets- and their relations are studied at different scales, seeking to identify geometrical and topological patterns and their structural affinity within the whole. Methods from the Urban Morphology field, networks science and fractal analysis are used in this investigation. The present research seeks to contribute to the detection of the impact of design over the city’s complexity, helping to inform design and planning fields, and policy-making.

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