Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Emergent ecology: Creating inclusive cities through speculative interaction

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posted on 2021-12-06, 23:52 authored by Kumar, Shaneel

Many cities within developing countries are facing an increased demand for space to work and live as contemporary top-down urbanisation strains to facilitate the rising urban population. Future projections estimate that the world’s population will transition from rural to urban living within a relatively short period of time, causing concern towards transition and facilitation of culturally specific demographics and their values within the existing socioeconomic condition of a city. This research proposes a speculative bottom-up approach to urban design which utilises the behavioural tendencies of various demographics within a cultural context to inform how a city can facilitate inclusivity through diverse social and economic interaction. Inclusive cities are paramount to the socioeconomic success of developing countries, with the potential to provide over 80% of the country’s economic growth. This investigation looks at New Delhi, India as a context within which to test the proposed emergent model for urban design (behaviour driven approach) using a simulation-based methodology to test how New Delhi’s various demographics can diversely interact to invoke an inclusive future city in response. The speculative design investigation of this research will highlight the potential of bottom-up urban design and the merit of using behaviour-based, emergent methodologies for urban planning, creating diverse interaction and an alternative to contemporary top-down urban planning. The aim of the research is to develop a methodology for simulating how agent behaviour can be utilised to inform urban design. The methodology will simulate an urban population by utilising individual and collective behaviour to inform the organisation of density within an urban scale. The data will form a “pre-geometry state” in which typology, infrastructure and other key nodes can be instanced to create an emergent, urban ecology informed by agent interactions.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure Basic Research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Kawiti, Derek