The geometry of resilience

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013

A challenging, but very smart read: Part 4 of the series “Toward Resilient Architectures” by Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros, over at Metropolis Magazine. (See our previous mention of the series.)

The authors explain four characteristics of resilience as expressed in design: differentiation, web-networks, fractal scaling, and boundary groupings. Many building projects of the last century, ranging from glass skyscrapers to the “ghost cities” of China fail the resilience test because they lack most or all of these characteristics. On the other hand, the authors attribute the survival structures like Spain’s Alhambra to their incorporation of all of these geometric principles. Other examples would include organically developed towns, often with lots of vernacular architecture.

The authors conclude:

For civilization, and quite possibly, for life on earth to survive, designers will have to embrace a far more robust environmental geometry: The Geometry of Resilience. This is an important component of the necessary transition ahead: the careful, adaptive re-structuring of our technology, and our global economy, to achieve a much more resilient, more survivable form of human development.

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