The Ecological Superblock - Computational Ecology Principles in Urban Systems Design

Tabony, Aiman (2021). The Ecological Superblock - Computational Ecology Principles in Urban Systems Design. PhD thesis The Open University.



The rapid, ongoing and upcoming climatic and ecological changes, coupled with the rapid acceleration in population growth, raise doubts and concerns regarding the ability of the existing urban systems to adapt to the future changes. Nevertheless, these changes represent a key opportunity to utilise ecological based design superblocks. The research departs from a critical reflection on the work of Hilberseimer’s “Decentralized City” and Soleri’s “Arcology”, who considered the city and the superblock to be a single and unified ecological system. It contextualizes the research within the larger scope leading the focus to the investigation of ecology and its subfield, the ecosystem. This narrows the study down to three dominant areas of research: ecology, computational ecology and urban design. Through the integration of System Dynamic modelling method in the design process, the research investigates the implementation of ecological parameters, coupled with morphological and metabolic parameters and processes. The design methodology is proved by the development of a computational design model which integrates the System Dynamics model And the Evolutionary Design model. The models were examined through a set of design experiments of a superblock which was integrated with the flow of the dynamics of the climate and ecological system. The output of the design method is a multi-dimensional datascape, opening up new possibilities in the field of urban design and planning that are more robust in the face of changes in the environmental context.

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