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Townscape as a model of organised complexity

Townscape as a model of organised complexity

Powers, Alan (2012) Townscape as a model of organised complexity. The Journal of Architecture, 17 (5). pp. 691-702. ISSN 1360-2365 (Print), 1466-4410 (Online) (doi:

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The concept of ‘organised complexity’ was adopted by Jane Jacobs in 1961 as a new way of understanding city planning, drawn from developing biological sciences. In 1949, the article ‘Townscape’ by I. de Wolfe (H. de C. Hastings) in the Architectural Review is interpreted in terms of its references to biological sources and theories of ‘higher organisation’ and ‘differentiation’. These are used as the basis for re-interpreting Townscape’s historical and theoretical grounding, in relation to science and the growth of systems thinking, giving possible contemporary sources that Hastings might have used. The biological interests of former Bauhaus staff in London in the mid 1930s are discussed, as are links among Architectural Review contributors to Anarchism and Social Credit are proposed as ways of seeing the Townscape project in political terms, with references to an ecologically-based leisure society, as envisaged in later writings by Hastings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Published in: The Journal of Architecture, Volume 17, Issue 5, 2012. Special Issue: Townscape Revisited. [2] The Journal of Architecture is published with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Uncontrolled Keywords: town planning, complexity theory, architectural journalism
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:21

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