Urban Fold

Urban Emergence

The concept of 'emergence', in science refers to the way complex systems and patterns arise among groups without planned organization. Emergence is now being applied in interesting ways to study urban areas that evolved spontaneously.

The lasting relevance of Jane Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities lies not in its description of life on the block, but on the scientific prescriptions of its final chapter. Jacobs was a pioneer of a new scientific paradigm, emergence and complexity science, which in the last decade has produced two scientific treatises of enormous consequences: A New Kind of Science by mathematician and computer scientist Stephen Wolfram, and The Nature of Order by architect and physicist Christopher Alexander. This new science helps explain why the modernist designed city is less sustainable than the spontaneously evolved city.

Thanks to Mathieu Helie

Full Story: The Journey to Emergence

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