Cities and Cyborgs: Computing and the Metropolis, 1860-2010

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Professor: Nicholas de Monchaux, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California

From the 19th century's first experiments with calculation and thematic mapping, through midcentury cybernetic city-studies, to today's fashion for 'parametric urbanism,' architects and planners have consistently approached the power of computation and calculation by its potential to order and influence that most disordered of human environments—the metropolis.

The course will contrast readings and research from the 19th century to the present day with case-studies in design, landscape, and urban planning. Ranging from the history of GIS to Apollo-era urban simulation, these sources will be aggressively mined for their relevance to, and potential influence on, contemporary digital design practice.

The course will fulfill requirements in urban studies and architectural theory.


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