Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

The Fractal Urban Fabric. Emptiness as an Urban Planning Item

Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

The Fractal Urban Fabric. Emptiness as an Urban Planning Item

Article excerpt

"We found it more difficult to imagine society's felicity, to which a good plan of urban organization must contribute, in a city of sky scrapers occupied by people-machine-types and stifled by worries in life's struggle, than in one where individuality may find an equal place to live and to contemplate nature. The city most sought after therefore remains that which can offer a living environment to all forms of manifestation of the human genius." (Cincinat Sfinfescu, 1929)

1. Introduction. The Fractal Simulation of Suburbia as an Optimal Compromise between the Diffuse and the Dense City

The dynamics of the European contemporary city have rendered the traditional notions of compact city obsolete. The phenomenon of metropolisation as well as its consequence, that of the urban sprawl, have led to the emergence of a new spatial reality described in the German literature with the term Zwischenstadt1 (Sieverts, Deluze et al. 2004) - a space emerging as a transition towards an undefined model. Zwischenstadt is dominated by isolated systems which take shape at the scale of a territory, with extensive and irregular edges which engulf built areas and empty spaces among which relations of interdependence are established, with direct effects upon the residential activity of these spaces adjoined to the green areas. Thomas Sieverst's vision upon urban sprawl reality is expounded through a fractal distribution of the elements located at the limit between the city and the surrounding agricultural/rural areas. The principles of Euclidian geometry are ill equipped to describe this situation, fractal geometry thus becoming the preferred instrument which properly expresses the new spatial realities of an apparent chaos. However, within this apparent chaos, there is a law of internal order which governs the way in which the evolution and spatial distribution of these aggregates unfolds in the various stages of growth of the urban organism.

Thus, fractal geometry is based on the repetition of an element at different scales of analysis, a repetition which develops infinitely2 (Frankhauser 1994) and which allows for the inclusion of urban vacui as elements of arrangement, offering an alternative to the dense city (a perspective become illogical in the context of the contemporary city) where there is an alternation between built spaces and empty spaces, alternation which manifests at neighborhood level as well as at the level of agglomeration. The existence of empty spaces among the built elements represents an element which facilitates peoples' movement and air circulation3 (Frankhauser, 2000). Additionally, while ensuring a diversity of professional activities and a diversification of the inhabitants' trajectories of movement, this sort of setup does not limit itself to movements from home - to commercial centers - to the workplace, but includes an ever-increasing demand for access to green areas and the recreational locations around cities.

2. The Demographical Dynamics in the Bucharest Suburban Area during 1990-2010

Recent modifications in the urban dynamics of the first two decades of the post-communist period (1990-2010) have brought to the fore a new socioeconomical phenomenon with major impact upon the evolution of the Bucharest area, among others - the migration of city dwellers towards the peripheral townships.

The fall of the communist regime in December 1989 has entailed a series of transformations of Romanian society, equally engendering a predilection for a certain type of habitat. The individual dwelling, previously seen as "antiquated," a mark of rural ascendency4 (Mihäilescu, 2009) has started to be reassessed, interpreted as a sign of social success and a guarantee of a quality of habitation superior to that provided by the collective dwellings of the great ensembles.

The December 27th 1989 abolition of Bill no. 58/1974 regarding the systematization of the territory and of urban and rural townships, and of Decree no. …

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