A UIC Barcelona study highlights the use of evolutionary computation to improve urban tissue

The UIC Barcelona School of Architecture lecturers Ana Cocho-Bermejo and Diego Navarro recently published the study “Urban-Tissue Optimization through Evolutionary Computation” in the top-quartile journal Mathematics, indexed by Journal Citation Reports Science Edition. Mohammed Makki, a researcher at the Architectural Association of London, also participated in the research.

In their paper, the lecturers propose using multi-objective genetic algorithms to analyse the master plan of Barcelona’s Eixample district in order to achieve more heterogeneous and flexible urban tissue. “The use of computation facilitates the solution of complex problems, such as architectural or urban design”, the authors explained. “In fact, the range of possible solutions is apparent in the conflict of the city’s design, the contradictory objectives that make it up and that require us to position ourselves with regard to the city we love.”

The research focuses on Cerdà’s iconic master plan to distribute the Barcelona Eixample district in theoretical 4×4 superillas or “super blocks”. “Over time, this plan has come to prioritise density over other values that Cerdà originally proposed”, they said. “We thus want to revive the other ideals the city planner proposed in his day, such as his commitment to higher quality and healthier neighbourhood housing.”

“For our study to be published in an applied mathematics journal confirms and validates that our research is valuable and rigorous”, the lecturers continued. “It also raises the question of the need for the rest of the sciences to be aware of their impact on architecture and vice versa.”

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