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Open AccessArticle

Alexander’s Theories Applied to Urban Design

Graduate Program on Urban and Regional Planning, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre 90.050-170, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 86;
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 8 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formalizing Urban Methodologies)
Christopher Alexander has presented key concepts, such as wholeness, centres, and harmony-seeking computations, related to the coherence reached by a system. Wholeness is the global structural character of a given configuration existing in space. According to Alexander, wholeness is measurable although we do not have a mathematical language to describe it yet. Some authors have proposed a network perspective to address this problem. However, it is still poorly developed. This paper discusses how to improve the network approach already suggested in the literature. The aim is contributing to the debate on how to operationalise Alexander’s theories through a network perspective. We check out different descriptive systems and different centrality measures, which can be used to reveal the spatial relationship between urban entities and its hierarchy. The main conclusion is that centrality measures seem to offer an opportunity to get closer to Alexander’s concepts. However, a key point to move forward is a deeper investigation on how to describe the urban elements, how to identify spatial differentiation, and how to visualize the results. The relevance of such kind of research is the possibility of using those insights as analytical methods for supporting urban design. View Full-Text
Keywords: wholeness; harmony-seeking computations; urban design; centrality measures; urban network analysis; graph-based approach wholeness; harmony-seeking computations; urban design; centrality measures; urban network analysis; graph-based approach
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Rauber, A.; Krafta, R. Alexander’s Theories Applied to Urban Design. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 86.

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