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Social Sustainability and Alexander’s Living Structure Through a New Kind of City Science
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0652-9840
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Criminology, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4962-1540
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Computer and Geospatial Sciences, Geospatial Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2337-2486
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2637-2024
2023 (English)In: Urban Planning, E-ISSN 2183-7635, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 224-234Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The disputed endorsement of inherited visceral and universal aesthetic preferences justifies the scientific validity of Alexander’s living structure. Apart from implying a resource-efficient way to promote well-being through urban design, the premise favors a collective approach to human self-perception and social justice. To better understand the contributions of Alexander, this article explores current knowledge about visceral and universal aesthetic preferences for living structure and if and how the new kind of city science, a mathematical model describing living structure, can be used for further testing. It also elaborates on the social impact of living structure, including its premise, and the potential of the new kind of city science to support social sustainability. A literature synthesis on living structure, the new kind of city science, and the premise showed a positive link between well-being and exposure to living structure. Limitations in research design nevertheless precluded conclusions about the associated visceral and universal aesthetic preferences. The new kind of city science was found appropriate for further research by holistically representing living structure. Moreover, like the hypothesized biological origin, social learning and sociocultural transmission were found to theoretically support the premise of universality and a collective approach to human identity and social justice, with further societal implications. For the concept of living structure to support social sustainability, it must be coupled with the promotion of empowerment and community mobilization. Hence, the operationalization of the new kind of city science should align with Alexander’s call for bottom-up approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cogitatio , 2023. Vol. 8, no 3, p. 224-234
Keywords [en]
Christopher Alexander; living structure; new kind of city science; social sustainability; urban design; urban planning
National Category
Architecture
Research subject
Sustainable Urban Development
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-42827DOI: 10.17645/up.v8i3.6841ISI: 001058353100009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85168938526OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-42827DiVA, id: diva2:1787251
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 2019-0129Available from: 2023-08-11 Created: 2023-08-11 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Levin, TarinaSjöberg, StefanJiang, BinBarthel, Stephan

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