Theories of Planning and Urban Design: Complexity, cognition, information and the city

The last decades have witnessed the emergence of Complexity theories of cities (CTC): a domain of research that study cities as open and complex system that achieve their order spontaneously by means of self-organization, typified by phenomena of non-linearity, fractal structure and bottom-up emergence out of the interaction between the urban agents. The cognitive science add that the action of the urban agents results from their basic cognitive capabilities and the specific way the process the information conveyed by the city. Three forms of information are involved in the process: quantitative Shannonian information and qualitative sewmantic and pragmatic forms of information. The aim of the seminar is to explore the implication of the above to urban planning and design. 

Space, Place and Environment: Introduction to the human environment 

Space, Place and Environment represent three approaches to human geography developed in the last decades. Space represents an attempt at an objective quantitative approach, Place refers to the subjective relations between people and their homes, lands or neighborhoods, while Environment encompasses the social, cultural and physical structures within which people conduct their activities.

The discipline of human geography has always been intimately connected to urban, regional and environmental planning. As a consequence, the notions of space, place and environment are associated also with three major planning approaches: 'Space' with the view of planning as social engineering, 'place' with the phenomenological approach, while 'environment' with the structuralist and system approaches to planning.

Throughout most of the 20th century space, place and environment provided the foundations to modernism; in the last decades they became playing tools of post modernism. More recently, however, space, place and environment are perceived as spontaneous self-organized products that emerge out of the interaction between the many human agents.