Reflections on the Fractal Urbanism Workshop

Introducing Fractal Urbanism, a New Urban Planning Method to a Multidisciplinary Audience

The workshop was a great way to introduce the concept of Fractal Urbanism and quickly get people to start experimenting with it. We had 6 teams coming up with urban planning proposal for a neighbourhood of 45,000 people.

A team trying to figure out where to place food production areas in their neighbourhood

The workshop emphasised Fractal Urbanism’s principle whereby there is no right or wrong way to design cities—as long as we respect the proportions of the facilities that we establish earlier on.  These proportions are not given by personal or aesthetical considerations. They are decided after understanding the impact they  have on the environment and the quality of life.

For example, some teams initially wanted to design their neighbourhood with a maximum building height of 6 floors instead of 15 floors. However, the model showed that making the city to “short” would result in a much longer road network. This means more construction materials and energy consumption for the transport system. We take this for granted in today’s cities. A self-sustaining city keeps a tight accounting of the resources it has and tries to minimise extraction and energy consumption in every aspect.

Compound image of all the teams neighbourhoods

The algorithms that govern Fractal Urbanism taken into account social considerations. For instance, all the teams agreed on the importance of keeping parks and outdoor sport areas at walking distance from every home. That lead to the design process begin from a pedestrian perspective rather than a car take on urban design.

I’m looking forward to the next workshop.

Juan Vargas

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