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Imagining the recursive city: explorations in urban simulacra

Batty, M; Hudson-Smith, A; (2005) Imagining the recursive city: explorations in urban simulacra. (CASA Working Papers 98). UCL (University College London), Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL): London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Cities are microcosms of societies, worlds within worlds, which repeat themselves atdifferent spatial scales and over different time horizons. In this essay, we argue that suchrecursion is taken to an entirely new level in the digital age where we can represent citiesnumerically, embed them within computers, scale and distort their representations so thatwe can embed them within one another, even believing them to be ?computers? in theirown right. We begin with the conundrum of recursion, showing how its occurrence incities through spatial similarity at different scales, leads to worlds within worlds. Weillustrate these ideas with a large-scale digital representation of the core of a world city,London, showing how we can generate different realizations of the city for differentpurposes. We embed these representations within one another, building virtual worlds,moving from the material to the digital and back again, using the digital model torepresent the material world in different ways, and finally printing ? fabricating themodel. Our message is that digital representation opens a cornucopia of possibilities inrepresentation and communication through a variety of devices which in turn can beembedded in the city, Escher-like, and which indeed are rapidly becoming the city.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Imagining the recursive city: explorations in urban simulacra
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.casa.ucl.ac.uk/working_papers/
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1354370
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