Maria Kapteijns


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The city as a superorganism

Like coral reefs, cities are complex ecosystems: three-dimensional physical bodies, a close fusion of organic and inorganic components.  Analogous to individual organisms, each volumetric city ecosystem depends not only on internal exchanges but also on outside exchanges, relying on the latter for the provision of necessary energy/materials and for the disposal of unnecessary wastes.
Stan Rowe, The Ecology of Cities


A series of works and a project in which the city is perceived as a superorganism.

a comprehensive project
The idea of cities as superorganisms keeps fascinating me and it will be an ongoing subject. In 2011 I was given the opportunity to experiment with the concept in an abandoned Philips Building, a former laboratory. I could use the walls and floor to make a 3D mindmap. It appeared to be an impuls for further research, rather than a comprehensive project. I collaborated with Inge de Neef (architect), Marijke van Overbeek (artist) and Valentijn Dijkmeijer (technical realisation)
Laws of nature applied on cities
Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city’s population. In this mind-bending talk at TED Global he shows how similar laws hold for organisms, corporations and partialy also for cities.

Map of Eindhoven, the water system as metabolism