Full text: ARCH+ : Studienhefte für architekturbezogene Umweltforschung und -planung (1968, Jg. 1, H. 1-4)

System Implementation 
By transforming Urban Design problems and processes to 
their suitable abstraction, the design procedure is studied 
under a range of synthetic conditions. Rather than focus 
on one interest area, URBAN 5 attempts to abstractly 
simulate the total design process. In no way can it present- 
Iy be used to examine real problems. The graphical 
language employed abstracts drawing into the simplest 
geometry known - the cube. In other words, the mani- 
pulation of elements is conducted within a ten-foot-cube 
building-block system. This abstraction provides a method 
of simulating the graphics of Urban Design, furnishes the 
necessary "frictionless vacuum" environmant in which to 
work, and provides the full range of basic design inter- 
URBAN 5 is implementd as a modal system. There are 
twenta-eight modes, each is assigned to a push button. 
Associated with each mode is a series of operations or 
assignments displayed on the right side of the scope screen 
as a string of text -- light buttons. There are five kinds 
of modes: 
1. System mode (start, store, restart, output, end) 
2. Graphical mode (draw, topography, surface) 
3. Operational mode (qualify, assign, operate, initialize) 
4. Interest modes (circulation, environment, user, activi- 
ties, site, symbols) 
5. Instructional modes (panic, dictionary, jury, history) 
Within any mode there is no predetermined algorithm for 
the sequence of operations. The system has one central 
"wait state" that permits the user to change his mind or 
restate a situation at any time. 
The machine responds explicitly or implicitly. An explicit 
response occurs in an opration or an assignment. It is a 
sequential action: 
Operation: "How many families with two or more children 
have direct outdoor access." 
Explicit Response: "42 FAMILIES" 
Implicit responses, meanwhile, are temporal actions that 
have clocks associated with the criteria. Should the user 
specify: "Over 80 % of families with two or more children 
should have direct outdoor access", a timer is set according 
to the severity of the criteria, such that the machine 
verifies the criteria after a certain time and every 
increment (for example: a minute) thereafter. 
Example: Ten minutes after the criteria statement the 
machine checks for the specified state once a minute. 
Should a conflict exist, the error message might be dis- 
The frequency of such an implicit response is also con- 
trolled by a monitor that surveys the kind and frequency 
of decisions the user is making. Should the user be making 
one decision per minute in the "circulation" mode, con- 
flicts of privacy (for example) are checked more rarely 
than when user is in "surface" mode making twenty 
decisions per minute. 
Start initializes the system permitting the user to start a 
new job or read off tape the status of a previous effort. 
Should it be a new project, START requires the user to type 
in his name and the volume of the site. The volume is 
restricted to a rectangular chunk of space composed of no 
greater than 24,000 elements (or 24,000, 000 cubic feet). 
INITIALize permits the user to specify up to one hundred 
general criteria. The initialization process occurs in 
natural language where the system presently uses a one 
hundred word dictionary to analyse a sentence. The under- 
Iying assumption is that within a small linguistic context 
(Urban Design) the syntax of the English language does not 
siagnificantly effect the meanina of a phrase. 
TOPO graphy allows the user to describe his site in terms 
of a warped surface within his given horizontal and vertical 
dimensions. The user can re-enter this mode at any time 
and "move earth". The described ground surface is displayed 
in section for each vertical slice through the site - 
DRAW mode provides the user with graphical manipula- 
tions within the given abstract drawing system. The 
following operations are available: SCALING, PLAN, 
SECTION, LOOKLEFT (rotate counter clockwise 90 *), 
LOOKRIGHT (rotate clockwise 90 %; ADD, SUBTRACT, 
FIGURE, TREE. When in PERSPECTIVE the following 
ARCH + 1(1968) H.4

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