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ALEXANDER: Automated generation of living structure for biophilic urban design

This project, named in honor of Christopher Alexander, intends to develop a design tool for automatically generating living structure for biophilic urban design.

Living structure, which is characterized by far more small things than large ones globally and more or less similar things locally, exists inherently in any part of space: towns, streets, buildings, gardens, and even artifacts. To measure the degrees of livingness or beauty, I have developed a mathematical model that helps address not only why a space is alive, but also how much alive it is. I have used geospatial big data to demonstrate the living structure at country and city levels.

Based on these previous studies both theoretically and empirically, this project - named in honor of Christopher Alexander - intends to develop a design tool for automatically generating living structure for biophilic urban design. We will develop a suite of differentiating algorithms to create living structures based on city plans of historical cities such as Venice, Rome, and Amsterdam. We will set up SimCity-like simulations to conduct what-if modeling in order to better understand why and how these living structures work. The developed tool will be testified and improved through experiments with spatial planning students and design practitioners. The design tools targeted at biophilic urban design – in terms of creating living structures rather than increasing buildings’ aesthetic appeal through inserting trees and shrubs – provide an alternative to existing industrial design tools such as AutoCAD, and thus help make or remake urban environments living, beautiful, and sustainable. As Alexander claimed, the goodness or quality of a built environment is not a matter of opinion as we currently conceive, but a matter of fact. This fact is founded on the scientific notion of living structure or wholeness or life or beauty. This project will send a clear message to the design world that there is a better alternative to the industrial design models for sustainable urban design.

More information about the project


Bin Jiang
Email: bin.jiang@hig.se

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Gunilla Mårtensson Updated: 2022-09-19
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)