Complex Adaptive Systems

in Old Delhi

Delhi, 2012

This was a group project with Ammani Nair, Bhavika Aggarwal, Vani Sood and Varun Bajaj guided by Dr. Leon Morenas. Through primary research done over the span of four months, we studied the characteristics of three mohallas in Shahjahanabad, Delhi to explore ordered complexity in seemingly chaotic settings and pick out patterns of self-organization. These findings were presented in a seminar titled By the People: Complexity in the Commonplace. We learnt that these micro-communities have largely emerged through self-organized, non-designed growth and exhibit cooperation, resource sharing, and respect for public spaces- characteristics that planners value but are unable to recreate.


The seminar also raised pertinent questions about the role of the designer in such a reality: how does this knowledge of self-organization- of unconscious and spontaneous non-design, by the people- affect the designer’s response? Can active design make conversation with this self-organization in a way that multiplies its positives and negates its negatives?


You can read the seminar paper here.

© 2018 by rohan patankar