Ekistics

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Ekistics, scientific epistemology
Description Initiated by the Greek architect Doxiades in the early fifties, the term "Ekistics" designated "the science for human settlements" which promoted a scientific method for architectural design and planning. It had an immense impact on many fields of architecture and planning worldwide, especially during the sixties. With the theoretical shifts in subsequent decades, Ekistics was displaced as obsolete and its aspirations remained unexplored, while scientific methods in architecture are often dismissed in their entirety. This thesis explores the epistemological premises of Ekistics through a critical overview of its origins and features. It discusses the limitations of the method that Ekistics promoted (which sometimes searched for formulaic solutions and a stable field of conclusions) while exposing the complexities of its inquiry -- which resist the rejection of the method's premises in their entirety. This thesis discusses in particular, the influence of Ekistics in the Middle East, and the method's contributions to architectural thinking in the region. The juxtaposition between the contributions of Ekistics on the one hand, and later architectural positions in the Middle East which entirely rejected scientific thought on the other, offers a basis to reflect on the positive contributions of scientific epistemology in general. This thesis neither reformulates yet another scientific method nor does it attempt to displace scientific epistemology with a revisionist critique. Rather, it argues that while radical criticisms of Doxiades's method (whether these criticisms are based on social critique, or whether they come from the domain of the philosophy of science, or operate within the disciplinary terrain of architecture) have irreversibly changed our perception of it (as well as of other scientific methods of the fifties and sixties) they cannot subsume scientific epistemology, and they should not warrant its abandonment. This thesis examines scientific epistemology as an active critical attitude and reevaluates its usefulness as an orientation in architectural thought.

Ekistics, globalization, modernism, environmentalism
Description The dissertation examines Ekistics, a field defined by the architect and planner Constantine Doxiadis as the "science of human settlements" that championed the radical expansion of architecture's scope, called for its alignment with international development, and emphasized the profession's responsibilities towards global environmental exigencies. Spanning the disciplines of architectural history, environmental history, and cultural studies, the study analyzes the intellectual lineage of Ekistics' conceptions of the global environment, and the complex historical circumstances in which they were shaped: international policies for development, postcolonial agendas of modernization and nation building, scientific controversies on global interconnectedness, and architectural critiques of modernism. The study focuses on Ekistics' planning models of "dynapolis" and "ecumenopolis," and on physical interventions proposed by branches of Doxiadis's enterprise in the Mediterranean margins of Europe and the Middle East, where Ekistics had widespread appeal. The study also analyzes Doxiadis's relationship with key figures in postwar architectural culture, notably Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, who was also the editor of the journal Ekistics, Buckminster Fuller, who embraced Doxiadis's vision of world cities, and Hassan Fathy, who operated as a proponent of local "traditions" in the midst of the Ekistics group. Furthermore, the study examines Doxiadis's and his colleagues' interpretation of such concepts as Patrick Geddes's notion of an interconnected "environment," Conrad H. Waddington's notion of "systems," Jean Gottman's notion of "megalopolis," and Rachel Carson's notion of an ecological "balance."

By proposing an alternative focus on Ekistics, which for the first...
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