Ranking the Growth of Megacities (2009)

A Research Programme By Jonathan Drane  2009
The proliferation of buildings in the city scape

Abstract

Dynamic growing cities are currently ranked by human population alone- those with over ten million people being called ‘Mega-cities’, resulting in the attention of academic, government and industry commentators.
Apart from ignoring emerging ‘Mega-cities’, as well as the relative growth in population between cities, the ranking takes no notice of the growth in ‘building population’ that is created and left as a remnant, of the growing population.

Since ‘building matter’ (as a product of the building population) is a common denominator in the assessment of energy used by the built environment, a ranking system that measures the growth in building matter would inform the grading of our cities by environmental impact.
The proposed method involves the creation of a ‘matter making profile’ for cities based on both ‘population growth’ and ’building population growth’ recognizing that although related, each have their own actors and demographies, and therefore independent propensity to grow.

Underlying the method is a ‘proliferation model’ which describes and measures ‘matter making propensities and traits’ of different building types based on an organic metaphor. The literature abounds with those who would ( from many disciplines) seek to explain the dynamism of the changing face of our built environments, cities and Mega-cities through the frames of urban morphology, building typology, organic metaphors, physics based models, oncological frames, fractal analysis, satellite modeling and even Darwinian views, all of which inform the topic .
Missing however is a simple measure of our cities by their building populations, with buildings viewed in demographic terms as a species, each with their own actors and propensity for ‘making matter’, the sum of which is a primary legacy of our civilisation.
Working Papers

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Drane 2009- Ranking of Megacities