• Fabian Neuhaus


This is an introduction to what URBANTICK is meant to look into. The topic has grown from my Masters thesis and is based on the AKA project— It has since evolved into a research topic on its own. The following gives a short introduction. Cycles, rhythms and patterns exist in everyday urban life. There is something that gets us out of the bed in the morning, lets us squeeze into the tube at the same time as so many other citizens do, gives us a sense of time —lets us remember a past event and brings us back to bed after all. The same rhythm brings goods into town, exports products and consumes entertainment. It also scratches on the facade of buildings, changes usages and sets up trends. The city ticks somehow. Cycles appear in any part of life. Examples can be found in time , economics, and the environment and could be seasons, days, technology, events, life cycles, or even particular phenomena like rush hour or basic needs such as breathing, eating and sleeping. They are celebrated through rituals and used as a tool for categorization. In the first place , the main characteristics are, that it is continuous along a time axis, e.g. it could be described as the manifestation of time passing by. In the second place , its characteristic is that some sort or repetition occurs. The repetition is a tool for feedback. ‘From the study of living systems and the science of cybernetics, we learnt about the importance of feedback loops to maintain a system. This information is processed along any cycle and constantly leads to an assessment. The continuum of the cycle in its repetitions gives a rhythm or a pattern to life’ (Capra 1997, p. 155). This pattern is the subject of this research work with the focus on the urban environment . How do these cycles move people and goods through the city and how its rhythm interacts with the built surrounding? Many different cycles overlap at any point in the city . They are not synchronized and they interfere and disturb one another. This can be the source of movement and activity in urban life. In order to understand this, I will try to find out where these cycles come from, how they build up and whether and how they transform into urban form.


Identity Identity Time Time Location Location Movement Movement Cycle Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Spatial AnalysisUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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