The Metropolitan Genoma
MIT Metro Lab Research Paper
The Art of Deciphering the Metropolis
Pedro B. Ortiz, Cambridge, MIT January 2017
The rural population is rapidly moving to urban areas. This is a result of the development process since mid-20 C. Urban areas are growing fast. Many are becoming poly-nuclear metropolises. Only three cities in history had reached the 700.000 population threshold. We have now 600. Much of this growth is been informal and uncontrolled. This is going to be the inheritance of the present generations to the future ones. The uncontrolled growth is mostly due to the fact that we have a large knowledge on how to deal with cities; we have been developing urban knowledge for many years, but we lack the knowledge to deal with metropolises. The ten fold difference in size, from a 1:5.000 scale to a 1:50.000 one, requires a different approach to economic, social, physical and institutional approach. The DNA of cities and Metropolises is radically different. We need a Discipline of Practice, (Metropology?) to deal with the new phenomenon of metropolises and the challenge of their management. The Physical framework was addressed in the book 'The Art of Shaping the Metropolis' (1), but we lack a general theory on how internal phenomena work and how interactions between components, sectors, instances, or elements can be understood and managed. Twenty-five years of metropolitan practice, where these principles were applied and whose response defined the process of conceptual building, result in this paper. The aim of it is to provide the first step to what we understand is the Genoma of the Metropolis. Many steps lay before us in this process. Foreword I am aware of the difficulty of the issues addressed in this paper, but a comprehensive view on how to address a general theory of the metropolis is necessary. I also am aware that this is the first time this is enterprise, and thus is open to surprise, controversy, and disagreement. Nevertheless, it is a must in a foundational moment of a new discipline, as The Art of Shaping the Metropolis (1) was a foundational treatise on how to address the spatial aspects of it.
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