Relational Urban Modeling


This course will meet for the first time on Tuesday, September 1st from 9 am – 12 pm in room 505.

This course will meet regularly (in person or on skype) starting on September 9th. Eduardo Rico and Enriqueta Llabres Valls will be in residence to teach on September 1, 9, 16, 23, October 7, 21, and November 4, 18. In addition, class will be held via Skype on September 30, October 14, 28, November 11, and December 2.

Digital Tools are changing the way urban form is designed, taught, practiced and regulated. Design instruments, participatory mechanisms and urban policies are converging towards new forms of urban models that act as mediator between the designer and the different actors involved in the design process; this form of openness and multiplicity have the capacity of unveiling the political tensions behind urban design decisions. Designers more and more need to put in question the tools they use customizing their own toolkit, moving from establishing urban parameters to the construction of spatial values to capturing tacit forms of material engagement and human interaction.

Framed on this context the course will engage with how digitally responsive urban models can help to understand the interrelationship between urban form, environmental dynamics and urban policy. We call these systems Relational Urban Models (RUM’s); customized design toolkits of urban parametric models, databases, infographics and interactive platforms allowing real time interplay with urban form.

Students will use basic interface templates scripted in processing which will be brought at the inset of the course. Physical and Digital Simulations of dynamic landscapes will be linked to the interface altogether with means of interpreting this data as the basis of urban morphologies. Mathematical models in Excel of ecologic, economic and policy systems are scripted and represented alongside the physical systems in order to develop ideas about forms of control and definition of urban form using Rhino, Grasshopper and Python.

The course will be structured around fortnightly seminars and weekly lab exercises. During lab sessions the students will learn how to use and customize processing templates that coordinate simulation of physical processes and mathematical systems linked to rhino environment. Seminars will address the history and theory underpinning this form of work, linking it to a wider discourse on cybernetics and governance and revising how relevant regulations in the history of urban and environmental studies can be re-instrumentalize by the use RUMs.