Project: Consider the implications of adding climate change to the list of pressures on urban systems. How does it increase complexity and unpredictability?
Technically, the word ‘complexity incorporates the condition of extreme order (e.g. a diamond crystal), the condition of chaos (e.g. moving gas molecules), and every possible variant between. However, the term is popularly used as the opposite of ‘simplicity’.
Project: SimCity is one of the first computer games that developed from chaos research in the late 1980s. It incorporated the innumerable variables encountered in designing and constructing a city. Players could mark land as being commercial, industrial, or residential. They could establish tax rates, build power grids, and install transportation systems. They could choose to construct apartments, industrial buildings, commercial buildings, hospitals, churches, schools, etc. Then they had to contend with disruptions from traffic, power outages, crime, floods, fires, plane crashes, nuclear meltdowns, and even attacks by monsters. SimCity applied insights from complexity theory and related bodies of knowledge by acknowledging that urban infrastructure systems are tightly coupled with one another and with every-changing technological, social, and environmental conditions. Climate change had not yet factored into city planning in the 1980s. Consider the implications of adding climate change to the list of pressures on urban systems. How does it increase complexity and unpredictability?
Research / Discussion: To a greater or lesser extent, each instance of chaos/complexity involves three characteristics: feedback loops, decentralized decision making, and the interaction of multiple systems. As a result, each instance is unpredictable. Unpredictability applies to all the works of art discussed in this section. Indeed, even the artists who created the works could not anticipate the outcomes. Select one work of art from three different categories of complexity. Then select a specific non-art example of each artist’s theme and cite actual instances of unpredictability factors.