This graduate research project challenges classic assumptions of linear urban development and the independent relationship between built and natural orders in New Orleans. When barriers break down in a disaster, the response has been to simply build taller and longer barriers. Instead, this project proposes a system which reconciles city with nature through an emergent system of scripted design agents which organize the city and topography at various scales through the principle of diffusion limited aggregations.
In this bottom-up system, programmatic mass is broken into small boxes that self-organize into aggregates of varying density by responding to changes in local topography and the context of neighbor boxes. A complimentary class of sculpting agents is concurrently tasked with spontaneously ordering a new canal system to channel flood waters into (and out of) a redesigned wetlands area and redistributing landform. The purpose of this project is not to â€œsolveâ€? the issue of flooding. What this project proposes is a circular, open mechanism that can compile various inputs into an inter-dependent system that produces an emergent order that responds and adapts to local conditions.