Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Alexander’s Wholeness as the Scientific Foundation of Sustainable Urban Design and Planning

Version 1 : Received: 17 September 2019 / Approved: 19 September 2019 / Online: 19 September 2019 (04:12:01 CEST)

How to cite: Jiang, B. Alexander’s Wholeness as the Scientific Foundation of Sustainable Urban Design and Planning. Preprints 2019, 2019090216 Jiang, B. Alexander’s Wholeness as the Scientific Foundation of Sustainable Urban Design and Planning. Preprints 2019, 2019090216

Abstract

As Christopher Alexander conceived and defined through his life’s work – The Nature of Order – wholeness is a recursive structure that recurs in space and matter and is reflected in human minds and cognition. Based on the definition of wholeness, a mathematical model of wholeness, together with its topological representation, has been developed, and it is able to address not only why a structure is beautiful, but also how much beauty the structure has. Given the circumstance, this paper is attempted to argue for the wholeness as the scientific foundation of sustainable urban design and planning, with the help of the mathematical model and topological representation. We start by introducing the wholeness as a mathematical structure of physical space that pervasively exists in our surroundings, along with two fundamental laws – scaling law and Tobler’s law – that underlie the 15 properties for characterizing and making living structures. We argue that urban design and planning can be considered to be wholeness-extending processes, guided by two design principles of differentiation and adaptation, to transform a space – in a piecemeal fashion – into a living or more living structure. We further discuss several other urban design theories and how they can be justified by and placed within the theory of wholeness. With the wholeness as the scientific foundation, urban design can turn into a rigorous science with creation of living structures as the primary aim.

Supplementary and Associated Material

Subject Areas

beauty; life; scaling law; adaptation; differentiation; organic world view

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