AA Shanghai 2013

Autonomous Agents

AA Visiting School Shanghai  2013/ The Adaptive City


In early 2001, the Shanghai government launched a plan to build nine towns to speed up urbanisation and to relieve population pressure on the city centre. Today these cities envisioned for tens of thousands inhabitants each, are barely inhabited ghost towns of problematic aesthetics. They lay surrounded by large-scale high-rise suburban residential “dormitory” areas on the outskirts of Shanghai, failing to attract new residents or increase the quality of life for the neighbouring districts.

Mentioned 9 cities/districts have the potential to become new socio-economic centres for the surrounding housing blocks, developing into self-sustained urban environments, with different levels of social and economic independency from the metropolis to which they gravitate.

This studio will focus on the issue of desolated residential areas of Shanghai suburbs, by proposing time-based models for clustering and redevelopment of these areas into self-sufficient cities, which are able to attract people and provide better quality of life for its residents.

Peripheral self-sufficient clusters – This studio proposes further growth and urban development of Shanghai’s satellite cities. During this process, the satellite cities should always be able to operate as self-sufficient habitats, as opposed to the existing model. Having this as base criteria, students will propose 10 to 20 years scenarios,  taking the development of the satellite city as the prototype for a time-based adaptive model of urbanism.

Adaptive computational models – Computational models will be based on “adaptive cell agents”, operating on multiple scales, evaluating neighbouring conditions in order to adapt to the existing urban tissue, while negotiating  programmatic and functional characteristics.



Software: Softimage _ Cellular Automata/ Strands patterns/ Flocking

Working on multiple scales:

1. Urban scale scenario: Map clusters on Shanghai’s periphery and propose further growth scenarios.

2. City scale scenario: Select a satellite city, evaluate local conditions and propose strategy for programmatic distribution.

3. Architectural scale scenario: Typological differentiation. Catalogue of agent patterns / different building types.



3 teams develop different segments of single proposal. Each team will focus on development of single type of cells (Main function Cells (commercial + education)/ Residential Cells/ Sub-function Cells)

Stage 1. Seed development (catalogue the building types within same agent system)

Stage 2. Adapt to existing town (grow for 20 years onwards)