Ruiying Liu’s Writings About Complexity

15138471_1262203650510607_1863484611030627665_oEveryday reflections on complexity, cognition and the city. Publishing in student magazines in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Ruiying Liu has introduced some of her ideas:


Where this all started: stories of the people behind Complexity, Cognition and the City
The Origin of Complexity in Bnieuws, 50(04)
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How hand-drawn lines mediate the agency of urban design in the visual media: learning from Frits Palmboom
All About Lines—A Palmboom View, in Bnieuws, 50(06) 
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Discovering the source behind metaphors and analogies of urban designers in the faculty
Analogues and the Source Blood of Design: Mindspotting of urbanism designers, in Atlantis, 27. 3

The Dutch planning concept, the Green Heart: its role in cognitive and societal processes
From Legacy to Legacy in Bnieuws, 50(07)
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A metaphorical-thinking perspective on Chinese Fengshui
The Elusive Wind and Water in Bnieuws, 50(02)
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How to break out of the Cartesian space and codification when mapping places
Warped Geographies: 3 Drawings, with Leo van den Burg, in Atlantis, 27.1

Reflecting on design education and a tribute to Christopher Alexander
Design is Not a Tree in Bnieuws, 50(02)
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New book: Complexity, Cognition, Urban Planning and Design


This book, which resulted from an intensive discourse between experts from several disciplines – complexity theorists, cognitive scientists, philosophers, urban planners and urban designers, as well as a zoologist and a physiologist – addresses various issues regarding cities. It is a first step in responding to the challenge of generating just such a discourse, based on a dilemma identified in the CTC (Complexity Theories of Cities) domain. The latter has demonstrated that cities exhibit the properties of natural, organic complex systems: they are open, complex and bottom-up, have fractal structures and are often chaotic. CTC have further shown that many of the mathematical formalisms and models developed to study material and organic complex systems also apply to cities. The dilemma in the current state of CTC is that cities differ from natural complex systems in that they are hybrid complex systems composed, on the one hand, of artifacts such as buildings, roads and bridges, and of natural human agents on the other. This raises a plethora of new questions on the difference between the natural and the artificial, the cognitive origin of human action and behavior, and the role of planning and designing cities. The answers to these questions cannot come from a single discipline; they must instead emerge from a discourse between experts from several disciplines engaged in CTC.

PhD defense Egbert Stolk: A complexity-cognitive approach to urban design


On October 19th at 15:00 2015 Egbert Stolk successfully defended his PhD thesis in the Senaatszaal of the Auditorium at Delft University of Technology.

The thesis (in Dutch) can be downloaded here.

New book by Herman Haken & Juval Portugali: Information Adaptation

9783319111698Information adaptation: The interplay between Shannon information and semantic information in cognition

More information can be found on the website of Springer. Disciplines concerned: Information science, compute science, cognitive science, complexity science/dynamical systems, neuroscience, urbanism. The book will be published in the beginning of 2015.

New paper: A SIRN view on design thinking – An urban design perspective

In this paper we bring together two notions: SIRN (synergetic inter representation networks) that was originally developed as a complexity theory approach to cognition, cognitive mapping, and urban dynamics; and DT (design thinking) which is a field of research that studies the general process of design as it is implemented in domains such as engineering, architecture, urban design, crafts, and art. In the paper we suggest how a SIRN view can contribute to DT, and specifically to urban design—dealing with large-scale collective artifacts. We conclude by presenting a research agenda that illustrates and exemplifies SIRN’s potential to participate in the discourse on some central DT issues.

Keywords: SIRN, complexity, cognition, design thinking, urban design

The paper will be publised in Environment and Planning B. The paper can be downloaded here.