PROVOCATIVE AGENTS: AGENT BASE MODELLING SYSTEMS AND THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF ARCHITECTURE
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Experimental architects are actively pursuing the use of agent based modelling as a way to dynamically simulate behaviour in cities. These efforts appear to mirror the simulations of climate scientists who have also developed dynamic models which are used to predict both global and regional climate change. In climate models it is the earth as a whole, rather than the city, which is viewed from above as a complex, dynamic and total system. In the models of cities developed by architects and urbanists agent based software has given global cities a new and enchanted life of their own. These modelling experiments and simulations have been theorised in architectural discourse as providing a link between the global city and ecological systems. The mix of biological metaphors and concepts, biomorphic forms, cybernetics and networked geometries in agent based architecture work points to the rise and theorization of systems approaches in 1960s architecture. The emergence of agent based software in architecture and urbanism will be situated in relation to its use and potential in ecological informatics, climate models, defense and manufacturing optimization. This will highlight the issues involved in distinguishing between exploratory and exploitative technological innovations. The nature of exploratory innovation is reflected in the desire of architects to visualise the global city as both an organic totality and as a intelligent and complex organism.
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