ESRG/Bulletin Board


Structure-Generating Processes and Analytical Techniques for the Human Environment

NEWS - Successful Symposium in New Orleans

Self-Organization and the Recovering City

October 18-19, 2007, Morial Convention Center

With: David Brain, Sociologist * Stuart Cowan, Ecologist * Andres Duany, Planner * Quintus Jett, Organization Theorist * Michelle Kimball, Preservation Resource Center * Kyriakos Pontikis, Building Process Specialist * Mary Rowe, Program Director, Blue Moon Fund * Timolynn Sams, Neighborhoods Partnership Network * and others

NEW: Symposium Notes at


"This year’s seminar was an experiment: a mix of two participant groups, one more focused on academic research, albeit project-based (the 'Environmental Structure Research Group') and one more focused on practical issues of rebuilding in New Orleans (the 'Neighborhood Centers Development Project'). There were individuals who straddled both realms, and individuals who knew more about one realm than the other. Therefore the discussion was occasionally elementary and, in the case of the introductory presentation, somewhat recapitulative. But as I think these notes will show, useful progress was made in both realms...."

The next stage is a proposed series of workshops with existing centers, and possible incubation of additional centers, depending on local need. Updates will follow.

NEWS - Additional colleagues

Nominated by existing colleagues, or with evident parallels to current work of others; delighted to have them!

Bruce F. Donnelly, independent scholar on new urban codes, and member of New Orleans recovery planning team, Cleveland Ohio. Interested in complexity, urbanism and new coding approaches.

Stephen R. Kellert, social ecologist, biophilia pioneer and co-author with Wilson of The Biophilia Hypothesis. Professor of Social Ecology at Yale University.

Hiroshi Nakano, architect, collaborator with Christopher Alexander on the Eishin campus (an early example of a generative design process with community participation); representative of Center for Environmental Structure Tokyo. Interested in new applications of generative processes to architecture.

D. Wayne Parsons, Professor of Public Policy, Queen Mary College, University of London; former correspondent with Herbert Simon; interested in complexity and implications for public policy and process. http:///

James A. Wise, cognitive psychologist, Washington State University; noted work in biophilia and its implications for ecological design.


Ward Cunningham has very kindly offered to set up the ESRG wiki site, hosted by AboutUs. Any member may correct or comment on any element of the site. Adding a note with your name would be the most transparent way to communicate with other members and start a topical dialogue. Try it!

NEWS - Wikitect

Ward has also opened for collaboration a new tool he developed at Eclipse, called Wikitect. The tool may have great applicability to the project to update pattern languages, and/or deal with other morphogenetic issues. Could be a hot one! See

NEWS - Organization

501(c)3 foundation now being set up to host the ESRG and allied efforts (for non-US residents, that's the legal entity that can take tax-free donations). This will make it possible to seek research grants and other funding for trips to events, etc. Draft name: Sustasis Foundation. (Sustasis - var. sp. systasis - means "stand together", or "join together in an integrating process" – not unlike the meaning of Chris Alexander's "Structure-Preserving Transformations.")

NEWS - London Mini-Symposium

Had a very good research seminar July 5 at UCL with Stephen Marshall, Linda Mitchell, Mike Batty, Ramon Abonce, Michael Mehaffy, UCL colleagues and ITESM grad students, on current research work. Topics included the SOLUTIONS consortium on sustainable suburban morphologies (with Cambridge, UCL and other UK partners); shape grammars; innovative new mapping approaches; new visualization systems; and research on travel patterns relative to urban morphology.


Paul Murrain has taken a position with colleague Richard Hayward's University of Greenwich, as INTBAU Visiting Professor. This is a good tie to INTBAU (and the new INTBAU USA, we hope) and opportunity to explore topics of "collective intelligence in traditional patterns" and their extrapolation and re-use. (As INTBAU has done previously with the International Seminar on Urban Form conference and others.) See


Marcel Vellinga and the International Vernacular Architecture Unit at Oxford Brookes (UK) will host the IASTE (Int'l Assoc. for the Study of Traditional Environments) meeting at Oxford, UK next year. He writes "I hope you will be able to come -- it should be a good opportunity to showcase the ESRG work."

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