Urbagram is a set of interlinked concepts, models, speculations, probings, essays and artefacts based on urban systems.
Cities are complex systems — emergent wholes irreducible to their component parts — part living; as dynamic networks of human flows and social interactions, and part built; as an evolving infrastructure and architecture that defines a morphology. As a greater understanding of the benefits of self-organisation brings us to explore decentralised approaches to urban policy, new models and analytical work based on complexity science can inform our understanding of both what the city is and what it could be.
I pursue a thought-praxis (a making-as-thinking) oriented around urbanisation, a mode of analytical thinking based on lines of flight, potential inputs and outputs unfolding along the way.
I work at multiple scales in an effort to explore fundamental spatial phenomena in living systems. Mobility, morphology, density, integration and energy are all intricately interconnected and form the basis of my analysis. I build software models to explore relationships between these phenomena, looking for insights into how we might grow our cities of tomorrow.
I’ve come to explore issues of urban complexity through a fascination with early thinking on cybernetic systems 1, a thread of architectural theory/practice based on adaptivity, software and biology 2 3 4, 20th Century critiques of space and technology 5 6, landmark texts in modern urban studies 12 13 14 15, spatial analyses of urban systems 7 8 9 and an ontological framework that owes a lot to spatial concepts first traced by Gilles Deleuze 10 11 . These touchpoints begin to sketch out a topography of interrelated memes which I should point out will flicker in the background of all my work.
An advisable way of browsing Urbagram is to start with the introductory Essays, which then link through to both concepts and models.
If you’d like to know more about the production of Urbagram, please read the Colophon.
Anil Bawa-Cavia, London, Feb 2010