Re-reading my final paper from 20th Century Architecture with Dr. Brownlee.

As cities grow organically, responding to the unique circumstances of their environments and the needs and desires of their inhabitants, they will become unique in their characteristics. In a later variant of the Helix City concept, the Floating City Kasumigaura, Kurokawa proposed that not only would the city grow organically as needed, but residents would also be free to use any building materials of their choice to construct their individual habitation units. This would favor a great diversity of solutions to the problem of constructing a habitation. In the same way, the life-processes of change and adaptation lead to biodiversity within an ecosystem.

For Kurokawa, the adoption of this biodiversity metaphor in architecture was critical to formulating an architecture that can be expressive of the Information Age in the same way that universalizing tendencies of modernism were expressive of the Industrial Age. In the machine age the source of economic value was a protype and a means of mass-producing it efficiently, creating an economy of scale. Identicalness, the hallmark of the economy of scale, was privileged: thus, the Ford Model T or the “universal space” of Mies van der Rohe was an emblem of its own success.

In the age of information which Kurokawa proposes, on the other hand, there is no added value in the mass-production of already existing information; what is created is merely a redundancy, an over-usage of the information-carrying medium relative to the amount of information conveyed. In an information age, “the source of added value is the differentiation of information.”[1]

Biodiversity, which is the product of organic, spontaneous growth and adaptation, adds value to ecosystems in much the same way that diversity of information adds value to information systems. The benefits of biodiversity, analogues to the benefits of information diversity, are numerous. A biologically diverse ecosystem is less vulnerable to the loss of a single niche, as any species this would wipe out is less critical to the success of the ecosystem as a whole than it would be in a biologically non-diverse ecosystem. A high rate of genetic variation within a given population of a species makes that population less vulnerable to disease, minimizes the effect of harmful recessive traits that could cripple a population that is not as diverse, and increases the likelihood that highly beneficial traits will arise through regular mutation, by providing a great variety of starting points from which such mutation might proceed.


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