Adaptive cities – Designing cities to adapt into a more complex and constantly changing world
Thanasis Kourniotis is a BuroHappold sponsored EngD researcher (Eng.D – PhD) at the University College of London’s Centre of Urban Sustainability and Resilience.
The increased need to develop more sustainable and resilient cities for even larger populations comes alongside the challenge of a growing complexity of natural and technological change. Cities are always prone to change; both negative and positive ones. However the scale, speed and complexity of urban change can sometimes turn even the most promising positive interventions into an unwilling outcome.
Failure and abandonment is taking over many new urban developments and cities built from scratch, as a result of over ambitious and inflexible planning. On the other hand, old existing cities sometimes struggle to embed and successfully integrate new smart technologies and, at the same time cope with a wide range of natural and man-made risks. Such dynamic urban environments require proven levels of adaptability and flexibility that will enable cities to become truly resilient, sustainable and fit for purpose.
To this extend, my current research explores actual and applicable strategies and solutions to increase the level of urban adaptability in existing and future cities. Making it clear who is adapting to what, why and how will provide the actual ground for helping modern cities withstand a higher degree of change and diversity, rather than just focusing on single-purpose and limited solutions with an expiry date. Whether it’s the physical city, its human elements or the wider urban environment, this research develops a systemic approach that helps both planners and clients identify the short and long term purpose and adaptive capacity of their developments.
In addition, part of the research touches on the sensitive but critical role of the human factor and how this shapes, triggers or interrelates with urban adaptability. It is the aim that future urban solutions will take these considerations into account to improve solutions using more systemic, resilient and efficient planning.
Further updates will follow this brief summary as my research develops with time.