Density tomorrow

“The density of human life in cities breeds what Fritz Lieber dubbed “megalopolisomancy,” or city magic. With so many lives interconnected by time and space in one small area, you’re bound to start seeing ghosts. There’s something dark and mystical about urban life, where possibility shades into probability without much warning. Spasms of weath generate surreal structures and events; vast communities of artists build imaginary worlds in the middle of the street. If mirrored buildings can disappear into clouds, and shop windows promise perfect bodies draped in gold, why can’t vampires lurk in alleys and mutants live in storm drains?” Welcome to the Future Metropolis, io9


“Complexity Theory looks at how complex systems can generate simple outcomes. Consider the billions of cells that make up a person and yet they all manage to work together in such a way that the body works as a single unit. Our body works to keep us alive. We get hungry when we need food; we get thirsty when we need water. We can think and learn and we have a distinct personality. Something happens when large numbers of individual units come together and interact intensely with each other. New levels of operating just emerge through what is called self-organisation. By looking at a single human cell, you could not tell that it would be able to operate with other cells to form a human body.

“A city also has a large number of intensely interacting units. This time human beings form the units. Once again, we would not know from examining a single human being that they would gather together in the millions to form cities. It is an emergent property, so that a city takes on a life or a personality of its own, which has self organised out of the interactions of all the people who live in the city.We cannot predict what a complex system will evolve into. When we think about it, all life from the smallest cell to the largest animals are complex adaptive systems and life always provides us with a mystery.”

Complexity Pages


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