Growth Typologies, Localities and Defamiliarisation Experiments with Artificial Urbanism in Sichuan, Guangzhou and Beijing
The unprecedented speed of urbanization in Asia calls for a fundamental rethinking of urbanism. Conventional master plans typically propose a single static ‘end’ condition derived from top-down visions, often incapable of responding to site-specific microclimatic, topographical and social conditions. In this article we discuss the notion of “Growth Typologies” a key concept we are exploring within our project “Artificial Urbanism” at EPFL and at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Growth Typologies consist of a lab component and a field component. In the lab, local typologies are dissected, analyzed and recomposed as algorithmic code with the objective to liquefy the original typologies and enable them to adapt and grow based on ecological parameters. In the field, we use real sites in rapidly urbanizing regions in China (Qilonghu, Leshang, and Haizhu) as case studies for testing Growth Typologies. Seeding and populating Growth Typologies in the field involves a process of “iterative defamiliarization” where familiar typologies are algorithmically estranged to meet ecological demands and aspirations of social sustainability in each of the locales.