Intelligent cities and the taxonomy of cognitive scales

The situated city

Cities that have evolved over time are a manifes tation of collective human intelligence applied episodically over thousands of years. Those that have survived evolved within regional-scale climatic and ecological systems, and are usually exceptionally well suited to climate. As regional-scale cultures co-evolved with the development of cities, the spatial values and urban behaviour of their citizens is encoded in the patterns of their streets, public spaces and buildings. [...]
 
The reactive / Responsive city
 
The reactive and responsive city is situateci, and in addition has sentience, the ability to sense critical changes in the flows of the external environment and within itself, and to respond by
modifying or changing some aspects of the behaviour of its own systems appropriately. The most intensively studied are historical extended city systems that had responsive hydrological systems, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and contemporary systems including the polder cities of the Netherlands.
A signifìcant fraction of ali cities are locateci on coastlines, at the mouths of large river deltas, in river basins and along river valieys, and ali are embedded in complex hydrological flow regimes. Although many cities have been able to ameliorate decoupling from their local ecological systems by globaliy extending their networks for food, energy and material flows,
they are always dependent on their local and regional context for water - and for the redistribution of flows generateci by the city itself, including a variety of emissions and wastes.
Yu Chen and Qianqian Yu have thus proposed an experimental city locateci on the Mekong River, with a 6-metre (20-foot) difference in water level between the wet and dry season, which can collect and hold water within its mban blocks in thc wct scason and release it gradualiy over the dry season to irrigate crops. A complex and differentiated urban morphology
is organised by mban networks that integrate residential blocks with public facilities and differing street networks and pathways for wet and dry seasons. The patterns of the· river flow dynamics are used to distribute the city morphology and the agricultural territories appropriately on the contours of the basin. The morphology is fìxed, but has differing patterns of usage as the water levels change, and the water systems of the city react and respond to changes in rainfali, river flows, and to agricultural demands that are constrained by groundwater levels and the temperature and humidity of the regional clima te.
 
The adaptive / attentional city

The adaptive and attentional city is situated and responsive, and in addition has the capacity to selectively change some aspects of both the behaviour and configuration of any of its infrastructural systems. it requires the capacity for selective attention to moderate changes that are beneficial at local scale but potentially conflict with global system parameters.

 

The self-aware city

It's 'conscious' of its citizens and the interrelation between all of its infrastructural systems, and able to synchronise its city systems with climatic and ecological effect and multiple sequential actions, and has the capacity to learn from experiences, and to run simulations to predict the effectiveness and long-term consequences of system modification and reconfigurations.

Weinstock, Gharleghi, in AD architectural design n° 224, system city and the space of flows (2013)