Home Services Projects Press Contact
It Takes a Village:
A Scientific Design Process for Generating Sustainable Cities in China
Richard S. Levine, Michael T. Hughes, Casey Ryan Mather

The recently completed European Commission sponsored SUCCESS project studied rural villages in six Chinese provinces from a sustainability perspective. With as yet few inroads from the larger unsustainable Chinese economy, the villages are excellent living exemplars of an almost complete proto-sustainable economy, albeit at no longer acceptable levels of development and opportunity. The form of the villages, their households, and their agricultural allotments create a visual record of their material economy. Systems dynamics models of these village economies were created to experiment with many "what if" scenarios for future development. At first, inherently unsustainable aspects of village life (fossil fuels, agricultural chemicals, etc.) were replaced in the models with comparable sustainability oriented means. Through a civil society, sustainable scenariobuilding process the farmers were able to understand both the consequences of their current activities as well as a range of their future prospects. The researchers were then able to extend this multiple scenario building process to sequentially enlarge these sustainable village models to the scale of towns and eventually cities. Through this Scientific Design Process, it thus becomes possible to project new, modern, sustainable city models rooted in Chinese circumstance and tradition.

Read or print this entire article:
It Takes a Village
back to top
The Sustainable City Game:
Systems Dynamics Modeling Toward a Democratic Urban Design Process
Richard S. Levine, Michael T. Hughes, Ernest J. Yanarella, Casey Ryan Mather

While it has become a buzzword at global conferences, within the scientific and design communities, and among policymakers at a variety of levels, sustainability has largely remained an abstract concept whose abstraction, on the one hand, has served to gather wide-ranging support, but on the other hand, has not been useful in achieving its implementation. The Center for Sustainable Cities in collaboration with Oikodrom, the Vienna Institute for Urban Sustainability, has developed an operational definition of sustainability at the scale of the city-region as a participatory, balance-seeking design process. Our scenario-building design process of sustainable cities is informed by systemic feedback generated by the Sustainability EngineT, a software utility under development at the University of Kentucky that combines systems dynamics modeling software with the functionalities of intelligent CAD, GIS, and facility management programs. This design process, or what call the Sustainable City Game, is a democratic method for the generation, governance, and management of sustainable cities in which stakeholders may place any desire on the table, but in order for a given proposal to move forward in the iterative process it must be embedded in a scenario that on a systemic level is approaching balance. The Sustainable City Game will be explored in the context of two case studies. First will be an examination of a Sustainable Urban Implantation designed for the overbuilding of Vienna's Westbahnhof railroad yard wherein new urban models were developed that are particularly well suited to the flexible urban design process of the Sustainable City Game. Second, will be an investigation of the European Commission sponsored SUCCESS research project wherein seven proto-sustainable Chinese villages were studied and their metabolisms were projected forward as future sustainable cities through the utilization of an early form of the Sustainability EngineT.

Read or print this entire article:
The Sustainable City Game
back to top

Copyright © 2011 CSC Design Studio. All Rights Reserved.
Certified Passive House™ and the related logo are certification marks owned by the Passive House Institute
US - PHIUS and are used by permission.
Site created by Terri McAllister
859.272.6444  l  Contact Us