Simulating Future Societies in Isobenefit Cities: Social Isobenefit Scenarios

Luca D'Acci
2013 Social Science Research Network  
Environment, history and chance, shape people and cultures, which shape cities, which shape people and cultures, and so on, in a Systemic Retroactive Game. The quintessential essence of Isotropic (or Isobenefit) Urbanism is to solve Systemic Retroactive Game problems downstream rather than upstream and, also, to give a beautiful city to everyone, rather than just to the richer. Spatial Equilibrium assumptions, Underground Hedonic Theory and Isobenefit Lines, are shortly reminded in order to
more » ... a better vision of the Isotropic approach. The Isotropic City is the habitat of a virtual future society that aspires to live in a city where each individual can enjoy an equal level of wellbeing and advantage from the urban quality, services and job location. It is shown by a few visionary examples of virtual future societies habitats such as the Ring City (a city without the 'city centre', where the 'city centre' is all around the peripherical ring, or in a serial of rings), the Homogeneous City (a city where the 'city centre' is everywhere), the Annulus City (a city without any geometrical centre in the city) and the Punctiform City (an interconnected net of urban hyperdense 'points' throughout nature, parks and lands). Finally I will show some simulations on more realistic cases which could be of interest as support to urban and public policies in respect to a social wellbeing point of view as well as to urban theory such as urban economy (i.e., by the relation between an Isobenefit scenario and Property value), urban morphology (influence of different urban forms), urban sociology (how different location of centralities and amenities give advantage for social life and wellbeing of citizens). In the 1970s the idea changed: city was observed as controlled by positive feedback and not anymore from the top-down but from the bottom-up. A single agent may be able to reconfigure a complex system (systems that have the potential to reconfigure themselves in ways that may be surprising [1]), but the potential still exists for the system to change without us knowing the actions of any particular agent [1] . Models were specified in more detail as, for example, by disaggregating into several types of populations, types of personal habits, etcetera. Fundamental elements themselves are to be represented: the agents. Cities are mirrors of societies which are mirrors of cities. Cultures, religions, politics and moral values, habits, and lifestyles design cities throughout history, and vice versa. Societies and cities -their physical skeletons -are created by the constant game (as cooperative as antagonistic), between private and public interests, personal and aggregate preferences/needs; and private and public interests depend on cultures, religions, politics, etc. We can call Systemic Retroactive game (SyR) this braided causal relations across different scales and feedbacks: individual behaviours generate an emergent phenomenon which becomes 'independent' from them even if maintained (and changeable) from them, and whose behaviour influences (top-down feedback) the individual behaviours, which influence it, which influences them, which influence it... It is like if the emergent phenomenon, after emerging, becomes a 'single agent', which we can call Autonomous Post-Emergence (APE), inside the retroactive game with the other 'single agent' which is the 'people behaviour', where 'people behaviour' can differ among individuals and depends from the personal interaction with the emergent phenomenon; the sum of each individual behaviour generates the emergent phenomenon itself. Therefore, an APE is intrinsically a Complex System, as emergence from the non-linear interactions among agents who do not imagine (and often they also do not know and do not realize that they made it, and what), but it is also something 'more', as, once it emerged, it gets, in a certain way, independent. Examples of complex systems which are also APE(s) are intelligence, life, market-economy, globalization, religions, cities, political-moral-economics systems, and so forth. Citizens behaviours-needs influence urban planning (i.e. dwellers love using bikes and walking rather than wasting money, time, physical and mental health by using cars, therefore the town council decide to plan parks, pedestrian areas and cycle paths rather than transform squares into parking and boulevards in motorways), and citizens actions themselves (private investment, preferences about where to live, where to walk, how to commute, where to open shops, business, etcetera), which, together with the geographical conditions and historical events, are the ingredients shaping cities. In turn, cities, once made, influence citizens, their habits, even their way to see and think, and, again, citizens influence cities, and so on. For instance, the hub of Greek and Roman cultures was the public life, therefore their cities were full of public spaces. In turn their cities, so built, amplified and/or encouraged public life. Or: citizens could not use bikes because cycle paths are missing, and cycle paths could be missing because no one is willing, or pushing, to use bikes, and the less people who use bikes the less they even think they could be used; or, the more they use cars, the more no one feels to use bikes (not just because of cultural habit, but because streets are too dangerous). When these influences are objectively negative (pollutions, stress, daily wasting of time for commuting, crime, low quality of life, segregations, urban sprawl or over density, obesity, etc.) and predictable, why not try to avoid them at their origin rather than wait decades and change them just after having continuously suffered their negative effects rather than before? From this point of view, Agents-Based-Modelling (Bottom-Up/citizens behaviour) offers future scenarios which, depending from the negativity or positivity of them, we (Top-Down/urban planning) can decide to facilitate or to avoid. Reminding the Systemic Retroactive game (SyR) between an APE and its agents, and quoting the Negative Transitory Cycles/Net Positive Development [2] it would be better to anticipate (Top-Down/Planning and Bottom-Up/personal behaviour) the negative consequences of the SyR for directly jumping the Negative Transitory Cycles. Example of Negative Transitory Cycle is the life cycle of many squares and streets, and almost each historical centre in our cities: they were born, often centuries ago, in a pedestrian status (not for forwardlooking merit but more simply because there were no cars), then they evolved in expanses of smoke and sheet steel (because of the 'fault' of both: individual behaviour -using the car rather than public transport, biking, walking -and planning -encourage the use of cars rather than facilitate biking, walking or improving the efficiency and economy of public transport), then they are now starting to return pedestrian. This re-transition in some case is in a forced way, by planning and laws even with strong opposition from the
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2308390 fatcat:fvoivpor55gaxcmhoji4numm4e