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Community resilience through exaptation: notes for a transposition of the notions of exaptation into a design practice to promote diversity and resilience as an alternative to planning determinism during crisis

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The cities planned to date are the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions. So it is now necessary to study an alternative way of designing resilient cities. Starting from this consideration, this text is an exploration of the possibilities of using non-deterministic tools, therefore not suitable for designating a use (function) from the planning stage, as a way to respond to the uncertainties of the future. To do this, we hypothesised a methodology that compares biology with architecture, namely natural selection with design. The components of the natural selection’s “aptations” are in fact both deterministic (adaptation) and non-deterministic (exaptation). While adaptation is a concept widely studied in architecture, there is no literature, in the field, regarding the mechanisms of exaptation, as defined by Stephen Jay Gould, despite its obvious practical applications in city planning. From studies, the difficulty of overcoming an exclusively deterministic planning emerges, above all, due to some prejudices, in the form of “reification”, including the “ricapituative” reading of the city. In conclusion, the diversity of subjects who can contribute to city planning is essential to increase their resilience in view of future unexpected effects of the global crises.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForum A+P
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2021

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