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Publication Detail
Imagining the recursive city: explorations in urban simulacra
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Batty M, Hudson-Smith A
  • Publisher:
    UCL (University College London), Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL)
  • Publication date:
    09/2005
  • Place of publication:
    London, UK
  • Report number:
    98
  • Series:
    CASA Working Papers
  • Print ISSN:
    1467-1298
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.
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