Although the notion of the urban body originated with mechanistic visions of the 17th and 18th centuries, the contemporary concept of a city in perpetual mutation sustained by networks tapping into quantitative and qualitative domains has reactivated the development of an organicistic description.The Japanese metabolists, against the mechanistic vision of the city and considering the urban domain as a machine, instead imagined the city as a living body, a perpetually mutating organism in which transformations were to be thought of as implants or hybridizations. What for the metabolists was still a metaphorical approach has since become an essential tool for understandingthe self-regulating phenomena emerging in major urban concentrations.
Utilizing firstgame theory and then morphogenetic models taken from fractal mathematics, urban analysis has increasingly integrated the tools of biomorphic description.
Today, with the spreading use of genetic algorithms, or Cellular Automata, these tools seem to have become means for better controlling architectural design upstream. The concept of self generating form has thus enabled UNStudio and Foreign Office Architects to produce new models of urban integration. The emergence of genuine morphogenisis has gradually enabled the integration of qualitative and social parameters. Biotech systems, beyond any notion of scale, from nanotechnologies to macrostructures, have become design systems that are making it possible to control all the growth patterns of dynamic domains. Developed by Xefirotarch and the Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory, this research is paving the way towards a parametric urbanism able to define hithertoun known levels of integration.