Living Architecture Systems Group

SUMMARY: Can architecture integrate living functions? The Living Architecture Systems Group (LASG) is integrating living and near-living technologies into our built environment, transforming the future of buildings and cities. LASG is developing environments that can move, respond and learn; that grow themselves and that are adaptive and empathic toward their inhabitants.

PROBLEM SPACE: “Cities were once created by the collective action of many small builders and developers, working together according to commonly understood simple rules and procedures. These contained the necessary conditions for people to adapt space to their economic and social needs, creating a rich tapestry of urban life.

We lost the art: for the past three generations, governments around the world have tried to solve problems associated with urban development through rules and regulations designed to order and control the evolution of cities.

These strategies have have failed citizens over and again, resulting in entrenched patterns of inequality and dysfunction related to economic, social and environmental systems and resources. For example: giant housing projects that reinforce crime and social exclusion, declining housing standards, poor resource planning, entrenched socio-economic inequalities, and compromised access to work and environmental resources.

Unknowingly trapped in a reductive mindset governments attempt to control, plan and prescribe the behaviour of cities and their inhabitants as if they were predictable machines.

But cities are not like that.

Cities are complex systems with myriad intersecting levels of organisation. And we can work according to an understanding of this nature to make adaptable, resilient and human scale places.”

SOLUTION: “Massive Small advocates that small initial changes to conditions can have massive outcomes. By focusing on putting in place the rules that lead to local, small solutions that harness latent energy and creativity of the inhabitants of cities, our aim is to democratise planning and development.

The theory is becoming widely accepted, generating working relationships from city governments worldwide. The creator of Massive Small theory, Kelvin Campbell teaches a module on Massive Small at Oxford University’s MSc in Sustainable Urban Development.

Kelvin and the team are at capacity visiting city and provincial governments from South Africa to the US and organisations like the American Planning Association and the UNDP – the demand for this methodology outstrips our current platforms and resources.

To allow it to be transformative in on a global scale we are building an online platform that will support a distributed chapter-based network of influencers.

The Massive Small Collective will communicate and refine our methodology through an open-source collaborative platform. This contains a wiki – like database that collects a constant influx of techniques, ideas, tools and tactics. Each of these is cross referenced to a carefully curated team of Massive Small experts.

Via the platform, key decision makers in government and elsewhere can then access these experts. They have the authority and experience to clearly show how their clients can achieve their goals using Massive Small methodologies.
They can be scheduled for online consultation, targeted in-person workshops and bespoke action teams for policy reform.

Members of the community can apply to become Massive Small experts themselves, growing and diversifying the network and keeping the thinking fresh and adaptive.

Finally, this is supported by creation of a short viral video and a 1 hour documentary film, combining powerful video of urban transformation with narrators.”

CONTACT: Lily Ray, Manager of Operations, [email protected]