The engineers and the urban system, 1968-1974/
Author(s)Wood, Alexander Hilton
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Caroline A. Jones.
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The social policy agenda of the Great Society was shaped by the recognition that if broad social improvement was to be achieved in urban America, social planning and state intervention based on systemically acquired expertise about the city would have to be developed. As a case study in the development of such expertise, in this thesis I explore the work of the Urban Systems Laboratory (USL), established in 1968 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with funding from the Ford Foundation. Using computationally intensive methods, behavioral models and the latest techniques of the information sciences, research at the USL emphasized the role of rational, analytical, social scientific expertise in managing social conflict. In particular, I explore the work of Jay W. Forrester, a member of the USL whose research on the city was published in 1969 as Urban Dynamics. Using an IBM Systems/360 Model 67, Forrester built one of the first large-scale, interactive, computational models of a city specifically to explore the consequences of the social policies of the period and more generally the possibility of the social engineering of complex social systems in a postindustrial society. This project of the production of expertise at the USL struggled to secure legitimacy in the early 1970s as the attempt to treat the problems of urban America as phenomena to be handled by a new class of experts was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of urban turmoil.
Thesis (S.M. in Architecture Studies)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 76-81).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology