The Urbis theory is an offshoot of the Gaia Theory. This theory holds that — like Earth/Gaia – a city should be considered as a single organism. A city should be seen as a lifeform; it is Gaia in miniature.
The original proponent of the Gaia Theory (James Lovelock) defined Gaia as:
- a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.
Urbis Theory holds that a city is also an entity – one that adds several levels of complexity to the Gaia model.
It is accepted by the Magid Arcology Center (MAC) that cities can be destabilizing to Gaia’s environment, but it is our belief that this can be changed.
It has long been an axiom of many philosophies that Man should try to live in harmony with Nature/Gaia. The mission of the MAC is to help devise ways for cities to ‘live in harmony’ with their creators and with Gaia.
Extract from talk given by Frederic Norton
“Firstly, Let’s talk about cities as living entities. To some people, a city like Magid is ‘merely’ architecture, machinery or perhaps sculpture.”
“However, there are CLEARLY spiritual and organic qualities to any city. Define ‘life’ any way you like and a city will conform to most of the definitions. We even give the city organic and/or emotional names like ‘Big Apple’ or ‘Mother London’. ”
“And – above all – who would refuse to accept at least the METAPHOR that a city like Magid is ‘alive’? It moves; it grows; it hurts; it recovers; it learns; it changes form; it hums; it cycles – and it may one day die. ”
“The city is clearly a life form – an artificial one perhaps – but undeniably a life form . A city can be said to have thoughts as well, even a consciousness, perhaps even a soul. Where is that soul? Well who knows? Where is your mind and soul? In your skull? Perhaps the city’s consciousness and soul are in its electric and fibre-optic nervous system?”
“Secondly, let’s talk about cities and their bad habits. Some people will tell you that cities are ‘out-of-control’. They use too many resources, they pollute, they damage. Which is true; but at MAC we say that this can be changed. Which is why I’m an urban farmer, an urban miner and generally an urban scavenger. ”
“We humans need to teach our cities how to behave. For example, we put humans in high-rise buildings.. Did you know that we could do the same with farms? We ship in food from thousands of miles away – but we could grow it around the corner (literally). We mine metals in Africa and China – when we could ‘mine’ our waste dumps. Did you know that there’s more aluminum per ton in a typical waste dump than in the richest bauxite mine?”
“The city is not going away. And we shouldn’t want it to disappear. Some people advocate a return to hunter-gathering – a pre-urban or pre-industrial ‘paradise’. My big problem with this ‘paradise’ is that life would suck. We’d be lucky to live past 40. We’d be lucky if half our kids lived past the age of seven. ”
“No.. I prefer my city. It just needs some work and people with vision to serve it and guide it”