Supervisors: Dr Michael Weinstock, Dr George Jeronimidis
In the context of the rapid growth of urbanized population as well as the effects of climate change and diminishing natural resources, the methodology by which cities are designed in the next 30 years is crucial to the success or failure of sustaining the growing numbers in the population. The conventional method of urban planning implemented in the 20th century, in which the city was designed not unlike a machine, adhering to an idealistic notion of planning a generic city that is applicable regardless of region, climate or topography, commonly resulted in dire impacts on both global and local scales. This has triggered a reassessment and revision of traditional urban design methods in order to establish a more sustainable modus operandi for urban development. In recent years, this has propagated an in-depth analysis of understanding a city within a biological context, an analogy introduced as early as the late 19th century by Patrick Geddes. In this perspective, developing a city as an organism, through a biological evolutionary model, provides a more substantial and applicable methodology for cities that develop through adaptation rather than optimization, reflecting traits – already acquired by natural systems – of energy efficiency, environmental response, regeneration and climatic and cultural adaptation. To test this, the research seeks to tackle the urbanization of harsh climatic regions in the arctic tundra, within a computational platform, to establish a correlation between the governing factors of the evolutionary development of natural systems, to the factors that regulate city development and growth.