23 April 2012

Stepping into and out of the vortex: the role of urban planners

A vortex is a visual metaphor to describe phenomena (issues, technology, nature, human activities etc.) that has ‘solidified’ and is churning/rotating (self-organizing), dynamic and gathering energy from the surrounding environment. Vortexes do not remain static. They increase, fluctuate, or decrease in intensity and eventually dissolve.  Nature has two very powerful examples: the tornado and the hurricane.   Urban planners work within and outside of vortexes such as urban growth, poverty, economic development, environmental change, energy, traffic congestion etc.   The metaphorical concept of a vortex is very powerful and can spurn numerous discussions on using it to understand phenomena and issues and proposing ways to manipulate them for positive change. 

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