Synthesis between urban and rural


The German urban ecologist Karl Ganser has looked at overall efficiency of urban systems and came to a very interesting conclusion.

There is an urban effect of sophistication and efficiency, and if we regard cities as living systems processing information, matter and energy, they have an optimum size, up to which there is efficiency gains in comparison to smaller units. Gansers optimum point is no fixed size, but rather a provocation. He claims that cities between 60000 and 200000 inhabitants are the most sustainable from a systemic point of view. From there on, the maintainance of the urban system is only possible with increasing costs for additional resources, or with partly or fully sacrificing urban and life quality standards.

Now it is very clear that many cities represented here have exceeded this point by far and there is no way to reverse this trend. In the opposite: cities need to grow, but the growth of cities needs not necessarily to be a physical agglomeration.

At the ideas competition for the establishment of a business resort near Palma de Mallorca known as the Parc BIT, the team of the British architect Sir Richard Rogers proposed a revolutionary settlement type. The idea was to combine an urban ìMicrokernelî, a microcosm supplied with dense housing, offices and telematic infrastructures in the center, with a rural surface of gardens, farms, single family homes, open space. The dissipative surface of the urban microsystem would take care of many material needs of the system.