The dialogical genesis of city forms

Thornberg, Josep Muntañola and Carulla, Magda Saura and García, Regina and Martínez, Nathan and Beltrán, Julia; (2022) The dialogical genesis of city forms. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 55-62. ISBN 9781914241161

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City forms are at the origin of historical cultural human living processes and without them our memory could not be developed neither at a personal nor at a social level. With the computer, as happened with the writing text invention or the printing methods, history and memory enter in a new era with deep changes in the human urban life. This paper will start with the recent work by Luis Umbelino (2017) about the ontology of placeness and it will also analyze the elusive reflexive interactive social cognition defined by David Kirsh (2019). Then it will analyze how the emergence of city forms relay upon dialogical transparences between the physical, the social and the symbolic dimensions of the cities. When cities lose these transparencies, not only visual, but they also start to be pathological. The paper will follow the extraordinary work by Bill Hillier and his frustrations in relation to the way this transparency can be forecasted or improved with digital tools. The paper will analyze some examples of city forms emergences to uncover when this transparency is lost and, simultaneously, how the reflexive interactive social cognition of designers, architects and urban planners disappears with it. The new concepts to analyze this transparency, are the urban indicators of quality, as is the case of the urban indicators by the network of Child Friendly Cities in UNICEF (February 2010). These chronotopic indicators can point out the way the genesis of city forms can be inhabited by children in a healthy way. Paradoxically this strategy has been used for the business standard of a city and for the standard quality of life of each city form, but the indicators should be used in research now from quite different points of view.

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