Global Village (die Konferenzen)
Global Village 1995
Global Village 1996
Global Village 1997
Global Village 1999

1999 waren wir beteiligt an der NGO Internet Fiesta und - in neuer Zusammensetzung - an "Global Village 99" Das geplante 4. internationale Global Village Symposium mußte leider abgesagt und auf unbestimmte Zeit vertagt werden.

Architektur und Stadtplanung
im Zeitalter der Telekommunikation
Technische Universität Wien
Juni 1993


The ever evolving Telecommunications technologies make many things possible. Some of these things appear to have the potential of creating positive ecological consequences while others could easily precipiate an acceleration toward ecological crisis.It is the purpose of this conference to describe what sort of community might emerge, based an the positive application of these technologies. The Center for Sustainable Cities has approached a similar question, but from a different direction. Our proposed model will benefit from the contributions which telecommunications technologies will offer to the development of the sustainable city, but this proposal is not dependent on such technologies as prime determinants. However, although these approaches may differ, they have important points in common. Both conclude that the metropolitan city in no longer necessary and may not be desirable. Both suggest that nature of human settlements may in the future be based on rather different criteria, both social, economic and environmental, then they have been in the past. Because of the telecommunications technology, many former requirements for physical proximity and location are rendered invalid and many assumtions about transportation and density no longer hold. On the other hand, we have never even been able to resolve the problems of the city based on the old assumptions, and indeed it has become clear that from the point of view of sustainability, the modern city continues to deteriorate. On the other hand we now have the luxury or not having to address the unsolvable problem of the modern city, but can rather choose to consider a new type of settlement - a new type of city - one that by definition works. Telecommunications and telecommunting allow us to consider smaller cities, cities of different densities, small communities and even isolated dwellings as the basis of community culture in the future. We are therefore afforded a choice, at least conceptuelly, of how we would choose to live. But in and of itself Telecommunications do not give us a large enough basis from which to make a choice. Even though many of those involved with the evolution of telecommunications are also involved with ecology, there is not yet a natural or convincing linkage between these two concerns. The choice of how to live must rather be based on a larger model and a larger process which includes these two concerns. The choice must be negotiated by an informed community of people, perhaps bounded only by the principles of sustainability. At its simplest level, this means that people are to be free to do what they like, provided that their choices do not restrict others, in the present and in the future, to in turn make their own choices. As conflict will inevitably arise from such a principle, the sustainability process is one which a community continually negotiates its ongoing choices within the limits of sustainability. A principal assumption which we have made which in not necessary assumed through the G.I.V.E. approach is that such a process must occur in a place and that that place must have the qualitative characteristics of a city - a city which we call the sustainable city. Although telecommunications may theoratically make it physically possibly for individuals to live anywhere, even in physical isolation from other individuals, we conclude that such an arrangement is not sustainable. We therefore search for the size of human settlement and the structure and organization of human settlement which is the minimum for sustainability. Below are some of our conclusions.


Over a period of years, the Center for Sustainable Cities has distilled a set of necessary and sufficient principles for generating the sustainable city. Here is a summary of these principles:


Individual and discrete programs will not lead to ecological or social sustainability. It is a common assumption among many environmentalists that the movement should press forward with any and all activites which foster positive ecological dividends, in the hope and expectation that when enough of these activities have been initiated, a threshold will have been passed whereby society begins operating on a sustainable level. But prioritizing these activites and separating them from their larger contexts only serves to perpetuate the analytical mindset which has caused these imbalances in the first place. This path may even strengthen the tendencies toward unsustainability, by promoting a gradualist approach to policy formation which would only serve to postpone dealing with the larger problem in an effective way. Successful ecological activities also create the popular impression that significant environmental progress has already been accomplished, thus lowering the public pressure for structural change. In addition, when isolated ecological programs and the restriction of unecological activites cannot be proven to be sustain, and indeed when such restrictions as economic burdens are not seen to have changed the unsustainable drift of society, there is significant danger of massiv backlash (why deprive ourselves for nothing?) which can only precipiate more rapid economic and environmental decline. It follows from this discussions that no ecological activites are inherently sustainable in themselves, without being linked into a larger balance seeking process. Similarly there are few activities that are so irrevocably unecological, that it would be impossible to weave them into a balance seeking network if their value to society were great enough to justify it. The whole question is one of informed choice, not rules and regulations an essential aspect of democracy in the sustainable city is the collective process of choosing the affordability of sustainable alternatives.

The political implication of this conclusion is not that environmental activists should withdraw from policy reform. On the contray, it is that such reforms need to be embedded in a long-term holistic vision and program of ecological sustainability, such as the one outlined herein.


The second operative principle for sustainability is the principle of homeostatic balance. Within the natural sciences, this term has come to mean a condition where local ecosystems achieve ecological sustainability or homeostatic balance or what ecologists call "climax systems" of high diversity, large biomass, and high stability through protection from rapid change and through shifts of energy flows away from production and toward the maintenance of the system itself. By contrast, modern human economies typically seek to stall such ecosystems in early stages of ecological succession, where the yield of products is high, but where the equivalent of the stabilizing elements of organic matter and biomass fail to accumulate. High production within these ecosystems then, comes at the cost of confounding nature's strategy of maximum protection and adaptation. Increasing productivity then, is an unsustainable, but temporary stage in both natural and human ecosystems. Its role is to provide the resources for the transition to the mature homeostatic state. Our present problem of unsustainability is thus a problem of arrested development. It is a fixation in an immature state where the maximization of local productivity blocks the transition to the mature homeostasis of the human ecosystem. What is necessary, is simply the natural transition to a mature state.

Most ecological approaches deal with diminishing the unecological effects of this production economy, rather than effecting the transition to a mature ecological state operating under the balance seeking principle. But this approach eventually makes problems more difficult to solve by sequentially removing the most easily resolvable problems first, leaving the most intractable problems for the future. Even worse, these easier problems by being resolved at an early stage, are no longer available as potential means to rebalance the really difficult problems. Smaller problems once resolved in isolation thus become unavailable as resources for rebalancing larger ecologies. In this sense ecological activites are nonrenewable resources which are in the process of being irrevocably consumed. Unless ecological activites can be linked in a larger balance seeking process, they will consume their energies in an unequal confrontation with the production economy and will make the mature sustainable state ever more difficult to attain.


No natural process or social system can avert the action or intervention of the forces of chaos and disorder, as they are always already an integral part of the system. Negentropy- order out of chaos as Prigogine and Stengers have argued, is the great creative force of the universe. Complexity and richness in nature and society is only achieved through the continual negotiation of dynamic balance through the lateral coupling of order and chaos, and not through the fruitless authoritarian - technocratic efforts to suppress or banish chaos from the world.

A sustainable city will be a community without unity. It cannot be based on ecological enclaves which go to great lenghts to keep all disorder outside the community. Within our present unsustainable society there is no choice but to attempt to minimize the symptoms of chaos as they continually appear. But a society based an a continual increase in producation and consumption has no other possibility than the continual increase in entropy as its inevitable byproduct. On the other hand in the sustainable society, as in nature, negertropy as quality and complexity is continually increasing. This negentropy is an essential characteristic of the dynamism of the time dimension and is propelled forward by the force of order embedded in chaos. What is needed, therefore, is a process with the richness and complexity, both in its architectural/urbanistic process. Creativity manifests as a measure of disorder, conflict and mistakes which are necessary to maintain the vigor of the city/organism. Sustainability is a process that must continue in time-seeking balance, but never quite finding it.


All systems shall first be designed to seek their ecological balances at the smallest appropriate scale. The city is the smallest scale at which the many social, economic, political, urban, architectural, natural resource, and environmental imbalances besetting the modern world can be meaningfully resolved in an integrated, holistic, and sustainable fashion. But the city is also the largest unit capable of initially addressing such problems. The city must accept accountability for any and all imbalances that result from its activies and processes. As that human settlement possessed of the minimum density supportive of urbanity and organized public life, and as the potenial nodal point of the many countercurrents convergent with an ecological worldview, the city is the locus of sociality, local economic production exchange, reponsive architectural design, and political participation - precisely the ingredients necessary to weave together the social change-oriented groups and movements for institutionalizing ecological sustainability an the lowest meaningful level and scale. A local decentralized economy managed through participatory process and organized around local renewable sources of energy, appropriate technology, and a reskilled citizenry, establishes the basis for overcoming the historical antagonism between city and country, culture and agriculture, humankind and nature, economic growth and environmental health, as well as other dualisms that have rent the modern world.


The first four operative principles are sufficient to generate and operate the sustainable city, but even such a city cannot sustain itself indefinitely in a world slipping toward ecological collapse. In order to be sustainable in the long run, the first sustainable cities must become the nodal points for the sustainability of larger social wholes, eventually including the entire globe. Because of this, an overarching fifth principle is necessary to insure the proliferation of sustainability through the larger environment.

The sustainable city initially has to operate within larger unsustainable systems beyond its boundaries, and in any case would never be completely autarchic economically, culturally, politically or otherwise. In addition it may not always be desireable to restrict all local balace seeking to the confines of the city/region. Some questions of energy and resources generation and utilization may be better balanced by negotiation with surrounding cities or regions, thus both increasing the dynamism of the local city and proliferating the balance seeking principle beyond its original confines. In any event, imbalances and instabilities permitted to overflow the city's continuing efforts to maintain homeostatic balance, will have to find their sources of rebalance and restabilization as elements in the larger social system at the next larger scale(s). As part of an overall strategy of ecological and social sustainability, this principle of either seeking balances within the city/system or being accountable for the negotiation of any residual imbalances outward, has the potential for creating successively higher levels of sustainability by starting from the smallest scales within the city. By potentiating the first modern sustainable cities, this principle of negotiating imbalances outward becomes the key for contagiously transmitting the process of sustainability from its early theories and experiments, through ever larger systems.

Because of its importance, this principle has also been called the "Second Law of Relational Sustainability". While the inclusive practice of this principle could obviate the need for the others, the first four principles provide the necessary framework by which this universial fifth principle may be achieved.


The theory of sustainable cities is one thing, but moving from theory to implementation is by no means automatic. While the architectural, urbanistic, economic, social, organizational and informational characteristics of a sustainable city are not just a question of analytical studies, neither are they just a question of design or synthesis as we normally understand it. It must instead become an ongoing process of synthesis and resynthesis, fed and tempered by analytical methods which continually give greater depht and complexity and responsiveness to the design of the emerging sustainable city.

This is a proposal for the minimum activity for achieving sustainability within existing unsustainable modern cities. As a small sustainable village, implanted within a large modern city, it is called a Sustainable Village Implantation. A Sustainable Village Implantation is itself sustainable and at the same time increasing the sustainability quotient (SQ) of its larger environment by both absorbing some of the problems of the city into which it has been embedded (ex. garbage, sewage, recycling ...) and as a negative parasite, returning value to its host (ex. food, energy, livability ...). Each implantation thus becomes a locus for generating and diffusing sustainable forces in the larger city. By consuming problems and generating value, each implantation creates surpluses of energy, material and capital for the construction of additional Implantations throughout the city. As each new Implantation developes through this process the SQ of the city increases until at a certain point the entire city, as a newly invigorated organism, rises above the threshold of sustainability and in doing so becomes an irrefutable exemplar of the sort of economy and process which each city must adopt to become and remain livable in the future.


Each Sustainable Village Implantation will evolve a different form and structure as it interacts with the problems and opportunities of its local urban ecology. In the Milwaukee Study, for example, the Urban Village Implantation, with its adjacencies to the Center City, rail transportation, interstate highway, the Milwaukee River and the Lake Michigan is at the heart of many particular problems and opportunities. The Urban Village Implantation here becomes the neighborhood of downtown. It is highly centralized in terms of the greatly improved access which it provides to the downtown, but it is also highly localized in terms of the network of public places over its surface and within its core. It is the new urban center of the city, yet it is a self-contained entity with a strong local economy, exporting value to the city, while being protected from appropriation into the historically unsustainable economy of the existing city.

The Milwaukee Urban Village Implantation also becomes a locus of movement in and out of the Center City by becoming the principle port of entry to the downtown as its major parking destination. With direct access from the interstate highway and space available for several: Thousand vehicles, automobile traffic from the downtown may be largely eliminated. From a galleria in the heart of the Implantation, people may easily travel by trolley to many points within the central city, or by rapid transit to many other destinations within the metropolitan area including other Implantations as they develop.

Sustainable Village Implantations are to have a strong agricultural and industrial base. The Urban Village Implantation takes advandage of its particular environment to contain a factory manifacturing wind trubines, in part from locally recycled materials, which would be supported by towers on floating cribs. Turbines, generaters, towers and cribs, are towed down the Milwaukee River to be anchored in a grid pattern on Lake Michigan. This growing network of electrical generaters will first power the turbine factory, then as it sequentially grows, the energy farm will provide power for the whole Sustainable Village Implantation, for the downtown, for the whole city, and eventually for the whole region. Over time the wind generaters would be floated south to Chicago and other cities around the Great Lake, creating a network of wind farms to replace the nonsustainable energy sources of the region. The network of floating cribs would also function as fish farm and would also be used for a variety of recreational activities. They would also support arrays of photovoltaic collectors which would complement the wind resource on clear sunny days when the wind speed is sometimes low.


As an economic venture, the first Sustainable Village Implantation, although expensive to build, is the only sort of investment which can be considered sustainable over the long term. Sustainability processes then become the only sort of processes which can be responsibly applied to businesses and cities. Thus subsequent Sustainable Village Implantations becomes much easier to finance and after a few of them are built, the sort of development which they represent becomes self perpetuating. Each new Implantation on its own site with different problems, opportunities and people, would negotiate its own unique resources and character. Urban and suburban Implantations would become centers for sustainable reindustrialization, housing many industries based on balance-seeking and recycling and providing education and training to foster the proliferation of such processes. They would also become the prototype for new neighborhood restructuring, by providing a full array of urban activities, amenties and opportunities for the larger environment. As people move from the declining areas of urban deterioration and suburban sprawl, into the denser Sustainable Village Implantations, the newly liberated land increasingly returns to sustainable agriculture, to recreational uses and to nature.

Similarly Sustainable Village Implantations would also develop in rural agricultural areas in support of smaller farmsteads and smaller villages. They would become centers for the development of sustainable agriculture, which would include sustainable farming for both food and energy as well as education, and distribution and marketing of agricultural products. As with the Urban Implantations, surrounded by an expanding countryside, each Implantation would provide the villagers with the advantages of both city and country life. In principle, each Implantation should have the capacity for self-sufficiency in both food and energy. However, with a network of Implantations in place, the balance of agricultural activities would shift to the rural Implantations, while other productive activities would shift toward the urban Implantations.

Each Sustainable Village Implantation is conceptually an autonomous village. With a population from 7.000 to 10.000 people, each would be large enough to have a rich mix of activities and services necessary for urban vitality, yet small enough to have the sort of pedestrian scale and space of best medieval hilltowns. Each Implantation would operate under a corporate charter which would both lay out its sustainable operating principles as well as the process by which those principles would be applied. This form of governance would assure a maximum degree of local participation and control of local decisions, both in the evolution of the village's design, its economy and in the sustainable process of production and maintenance under which the village is chartered. Thus even as an insertion into a larger city, certain essential aspects of its autonomy, its economy and its process are secured, as with the chartering of a modern corporation or of a medieval comune.


During the design process, each Sustainable Village Implantation will be assembled and disassembled - structured and destructured, many times before it would be actually constructed. The Process to be used will be a modern, more civilized version of the process of the urban growth and governance which characterized the appearance of the mediveal free cities. In the historic process, city growth responded to topology, history, local need and emerging desire. Over time, poor decisions were modified while good decisions were institutionalized, virtually assuring the emergence of unique cities which have been some of the most supportive of public life and cultural growth that we have ever seen. The modern city is far too complex and the forces which shape it are far too artificial and unsustainable for such a process to work today. Instead we propose as a new design process, an Interactive Construct which would be used by the citizens of the future village, to build up families of parallel models in many sectors and at many scales, of the emerging sustainable village. The Interactive Construct would serve as a framework within which models of neighborhoods, industries and institutions would find a right size and a right place.

In the generation of a Sustainable Village Implantation, a variety of computer aided processes are employed, including CAD, GIS, and systems modeling software. The process involves first the assembling of many different relatable and interchangeable modules dealing with energy, agriculture, architecture, urban design, industry, economics, construction, infrastructure, governance and social programme. From this point the "Sustainable City Game" is played, by anyone who may be interested in the prospect of sustainable cities. At first the game is played at a simple level with the players, who may be both lay people or experts in various disciplines or industries, attempting to follow their ideas or their self-interests to construct city models or more likely partial models, of activities (manifacturing, energy production) or places (neighborhoods, schools, piazza's) which may be of interest to them within a hyperthetical city. As the "game" proceeds almost anything may be proposed, even activities normally perceived to be unecological (ex. normally polluting manufacturing activities). The game process is one of modell building through negotiation. In the sustainable cities game a proposed structure, system or activity, to be viable within this process, must either negotiate local balance seeking reltionships with other activities (following the Second Operative Principle of Sustainable Cities), or it must find a linkage with larger scaled systems or activities which assure the resonsibility for rebalancing any negative consequences of the local process (following the Fifth Operative Principle of Sutainable Cities).

As the game proceeds partial models may be assembled by different players of dwellings, neighborhoods, shopping streets, squares, schools, hotels, factories, infrastructure, parks and recreational facilities, churches, agriculture, and so on. The first models which are constructed are relatively simple ones. Each constructed model is stored in a data base and its qualitative and quantitative characteristics - its imbalances and its characteristics of compatibility with other potential modules are noted. Each stored model is a "free body", that is, a semiautonomous yet still incomplete open system, as it has its own coherent internal structure; yet it has "loose ends" or imbalances at its periphery. (If it were a complete closed system, it couldn't be conneted to anything else and couldn't become part of the sustainble city. Our present cities are composed of an architecture which is conceptually closed, but systemically open, thus giving cities the disadvantages of both!). The process of assembling these partial models involves combining them with other potentially compatible and complementary partial models in such a way that these inputs and outputs, or loose ends at their periphery become their opportunity for connection and through such connections the growing city/system is brought toward balance. These larger models are each available in subsequent play as either starting points or default conditions for constructing new models. For example, they may be used for fleshing out a city by quickly taking previously constructed neighborhoods or piazzas out of the data base and assembling a number of them together to create a rough model of a new Implementation, ready for modification or redesign.

The game is a guided process in which the First law of Relational Sustainability is conserved ("While it is favored that activities and components be economical and efficient at their own scale, what is essential is that such components and activities, whether or not they are efficient, become part of a balance-seeking process or system at a larger scale."). Thus many games are played over time, creating modules and models which are stored in the computer and are available for later use in other games. They are stored both as architectural/urbanistic entities, but also in terms of their many nonspatial characteristics, both qualitative and quantitative, which are contained in the data base. The modules are stored as free bodies, that is as organs which may be implanted (transplanted) within an organism, with a notation of all the inputs which would be necessary to sustain them and the outputs which may either be used as resources by larger neighborhood or city or which would need to be rebalanced at a larger scale within the city/organism. As the game continues to be played, the moduls become more extensive, more complex and more varied. Families of details accumulate at the smallest scales and families of whole cities emerge at the largest scale. The families of cities are complex and dynamic as they are assembled from compatible and potentially interchangeable details, modules and models at many different scales. Thus a city model as it is housed in the computer is not a static three dimensional form. Instead, it is a living organization of variable relationships which, as they are molded and modified, carry with them the systems characteristics and information which animates the rebalancing process, which develops the city's complexity and keeps it sustainable.

The Interactive Construct in the gaming process is built with several different sorts of models, from geographic and economic models to industrial process models to architectural/urbanistic models. While "ecological" activities have a tendency to be preferred in choosing the models and processes, it may often occur that an activity normally considered to be ecological in and of itself, may be rejected when it cannot find a balancing process within that particular model, while an activity normally considered to be unecological may be accepted, bcause all of its normally negative aspects have negotiated their balance seeking responses within the city. This discussion reveals that there can really be no ecological activities in isolation, i.e. outside a sustainable system and by the same token, every activity within a city which operates through balance seeking principles, is or becomes a sustainable one.


The discussion of principles and theory would be empty if an architectural/urbanistic framework complex enough and rich enough to support these principles could not be found. In fact it is the other way around, with the historic study of sustainable cities and the social, political, constructional, topological, architectural and urbanistic processes of their generation, being both the model and the inspiration for this project. The particular model from which this work derives is the Italian medieval hilltown of the free city (comune) period. It is in these cities that the modern roots of democracy and participation were born. But it was here as well that a complexity of architectural fabric and urban form emerged that has been admired by generations of architects who have none the less been unable to reproduce a modern counterpart having a comparable level of responsive building and life affirming civic space. This proposal attempts to capture some of the most favorable characteristics of the medieval city together with the best possibilites accessible to us in our own town. Instead of the medieval city on a hill, we propose a modern city AS a hill, in such a way that the exterior fabric of the city wraps over the inner core of the city. In the current family of models, the city has 10 principal level, with each third level (levels 1,4,7, and 10) being a major horizontal circulation level, working its way around the city as a ground surface, as well as through the city to its interior spaces. On the surface, building fabric is usually two to four stories tall above these circulation levels, so that typically, no point need be more than one level above or below the possibility of access from a major circulation street. This means that few elevators are required in the building fabric; rather elevators are mostly used to link major circulation levels and to link the surface of the city with major space in its interior. Linking all the levels are two sloping streets that start at ground level to arrive at level 10 at the other end of the city. As they pass through major circulation at levels 4,7 and 10, there is the opportunity to create piazza's and also to go through the "hill" to its inner public spaces where gallerias and concourses are located for public transportation. In addition, on the inside of the hill are located all the industry, the infrastructure and utilities, much of the larger institutional and commercial activity as well as everything to do with transportation, movement, shipping, parking and support services. Thus the interior, partially daysit by courtyards and lightwells, contains all of the activities whose large scale would make them disruptive of the rich and intimate scale of the surface, but which fit nicely into the large volumes available within the hill. The intensity and concentration of the activity in the interior liberates the surface to project the same serene qualities and to foster the kind of public life still to be found in the streets and piazzas of medieval hilltowns. The surface is free to devote itself to dwellings, neighborhoods, small scale commerical and institutional uses as well as to public realm, including the pedestrian promenades, piazzas, parks and playgrounds which throughout history have animated civic activity. Every horizontal surface in this terraced cityscape is utilized for activities ranging from private terraces and gardens to public streets and parks. This urban model offers unparalleled opportunities for making of place - inside, outside and in between, spaces above and below, spaces active or quiet, public or private and three dimensional spaces with energies and activities at many levels. It is an urban model for a modern livable, sustainable city as well as a model for pumping new life into the unsustainable cities of our society.


Working with a city as a large building presents many urbanistic opportunities which are not available at the scale of more conventional building. Circulation at every third level for example, was employed by Le Corbusier in his Unite' at Marseille. It was a strong concept, but had modest effects. When employed at the scale of city/building the complexity and three dimensionality that this same concept animates is of a different order and is able to be woven into many aspects of the city`s unique possibilities. The intriguing concept of creating interchangeable modules at different scales has haunted architects all through this century, but only in the hands of a few Masters has it occasionally led to anything but sterile counterform to an unsustainable society. The quality and variability of the architectual system/process of the current proposal has yet to be completely proven, but even at this relatively early stage, the evidence for its eventual success is compelling. The genius which we seek is not the sort of individual genius, like Wright or Corbusier - the model of genius which has existed since the Rennaissance. Rather sustainable seems more appropriately to be the likely outcome of the sort of collective genius which characterized the contributions of the medieval period. The tools and processes which have been described are the sort which can animate a new collective genius, fueled by a confluence of individual energies, individual interests and individual genius.

It has become clear that the sustainable city cannot emerge from the sort of architecture with which we have become familiar. Modern Architecture contained a significant part of the idea and the theory of sustainability, but it ditn't have the insistance of the environmental/economic crisis to contend with and its tools and vocabulary were not sufficiently powerful for it to realize the complexity that sustainability demands. The styles that have followed Modernism have all in their own way been a retreat from both the problems and opportunities which would animate a sustainability process. This abdiction has sometimes given them the luxury of great expressive quest for sustainability will give rise to a new architecture - this time not at the building scale, but at the urban scale. Sustainability is the new discipline that will complement the modernist agenda and finally make it whole. The Sustainable Village Implantation is an attempt to discover this new architecture and the process to be used to generate it.

Over a period of years, a family of systems, topologies, and geometries at different scales and representing different possibilities has been evolved. From an architectural point of view, perhaps their most interesting characteristic is that while they can work as complete systems within themselves, they are out in at context where they are forced to interact with other systems which disturb their simplicity and purity. A context has been created where their relationship with other systems at the same or different scales creates dislocations for the original system and makes the interaction of the systems more complex and different from the individual systems themselves. The design and selection of these systems fosters the tendency for a complex disorder, driving the system to higher levels of complexity and possibility.

Some thirty years of study of Italian hilltowns has in the past decade revealed some ancient secrets. The way in which the urbanistic richness of these towns potentiates a rich public life in public places is evident to even the casual visitor, but architectural attempts at emulating these qualities have invariaby degenerated into picturesque sentiment with little substance. What has been discovered in some of the structural basis for this urbanistic complexity. What has been created are the modern systems and geometries with comparable richness in their relationships, which may be used in a generative way to project a new sustainable city as a hill. At the smallest generative scale we use the Coupled Pan Space Frame - a unique post tensioned concrete structural system with a five foot module, capable of large spans (60'x60') with a minimal depth (3'- 0'') and weight (100 psf) and capable of housing all horizontally arrayed building services within its depth. But instead of regarding it just as an excellent ( and closed) system at its own scale, in effect the previously mentioned "First Law of Relational Sustainability" is applied. Instead of being a perfect square gridded system support by another perfect square grid of single colums at the next large scale, at this support scale four columns are clustered and these clusters are offset from the other clusters of columns, forming another grid at an angle of 1:3 to the original grid, at the scale of the supports. There are now two grids, or families of grids at an angle to one another; the original square grid of the space frame ant the new grid going between the centers of the column clusters. These two grids support a third pinwheel grid at a scale between them (yielding 10', 20'and 30'dimensions) as well as a larger 100'x100'planning module grid (which in some applications becomes a 200'x200'grid). The point is that these are not simple additive, interchangeable grids or modules superimposed on one another, but rather semiautonomous, local structural conditions, whose offsets, though compatible, create local conditions which must be resolved locally. It is thus a problem creating system at the same time that it is a problem solving system. It has inherent tendencies to drive towards equilibrium and away from equilibrium at the same time, thus driving the system and the city to ever greater complexity and adaptability. This characteristic is seen perhaps most clearly in the sloped streets which run from one end of the Sustainable Village Implantation to the other. The same sort of sloped streets are to be found in all medieval hilltowns and it is in the structure of these streets that the structural complexity of these towns, driven by the simultaneous tendencies toward order an disorder may most clearly seen. The tendency in building on a hill is to be build walls parallel or perpendicular to the slope of the hill. These streets, in order to ascend the hill with a reasonable slope, cut across the hill, (unless they follow a ridge) and are neither parallel nor perpendicular to the slope of the hill. This creates the tendency for a geometric discontinuity at both the architectural and the planning scales. Walls may either be parallel and perpendicular to the hill or the street, but they cannot be parallel and perpendicular to both at the same time. Walls, corners, streets, intersections, stairs and footpaths are each competing with each other as they grope for their right angles. They can't all have the right angle and therefore each intersection, each local event is a negotiation and a decision. Many individual models develop as examplars for these decisions, but there are always multiple possibilities available for local choice. There is no standardized solution to be imposed from above. While there everywhere the quest for overall order and regularity, this is offset by the local desire for conflict within the geometric ordering systems of the street and the hill.

The same is true with the generating geometries and systems of the Implantations. While there may be many exemplars and default conditions, systems and possibilities remain open at every scale for the negotiation of the form, the culture and the sustainability of the city. For example, at each local condition there is a choice of geometries, none of which is the obviously correct or mandatory choice, and each one of which carries with it a different set of possibilities and connections with other possibilities. Local conditions may be easily resolved, but this is not automatic. Rather, each local condition begs for participation and for linkages to the more complex issues and decisions of the building, the street, the hill, the neighborhood and the city. Each of these scales is open to the emergence of individual genius. Sustainability becomes the accumulation and choice of the collective genius which emerges through this process.


The subject of this conference - the TeleEcoCommunity - is a noble concept. However it remains problematic as to just what such a community could be, what would be principles to generate it and hold it together and perhaps more importantly, how one gets here from there. What is proposed here is a different starting point which has the potential to accommodate the same ideas and values. It also has the advantage of starting from the essential value which must be incorporated in any future city or community - the sustainability at the scale of the whole. When a comunity has been empowered to take control of its own future and at the same time has committed itself to negotiate its advance into the future through the balance seeking principal then it is also free to explore any alternative what-so-ever. Advances in telecommunications and other computer based processes are certain to facilitate the implementation of such balance seeking processes, but they are not sufficient in themselves to take us there. It is not enough to speculate upon the potential and possible effects of an emerging technology. We must also commit ourselves to conceptualizing and creating the process which will realize the potential benefits of that technology. In a way which carries us to a sustainable society.