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Architecture as the Cybernetic Self-Design of Boundary Conditions for Emergent Properties in Human Social Systems

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Some concepts crucial in the contemporary interdisciplinary study of complex systems are reviewed, namely emergent properties of systems, the constructivist role of the observer, and approaches to modeling emergence. Considered is the generalization of boundary conditions to constraints able to induce processes of emergence and acquisition of new and emergent properties within human social systems. A cybernetic and systemic view of architecture is discussed beyond the functional aspects but with an emphasis on the constructivist representation by the observer. In this multi- layered system processes of emergence and acquisition of new properties occur. We propose the study of this system that is inclusive of its architecture, as a specific project able to unify, that is, cohere the various interrelated aspects of an architecture that is inherently part of the system. The human dimension is present in terms of the observer. By means of the cybernetics of architecture that humans experience, they come to know the emergent properties of architecturally designed places and dwellings for human inhabitation. Participation and responsibility for human social systems, inclusive of their architectures, bring into consideration the ethical dimension and its power to induce social emergence, which may be understood as an application of cybernetics to human knowing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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