A complexity-cognitive view on scale in urban design

Egbert Stolk*, Juval Portugali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Urban designers ‘design across scales’, moving between streetscapes, neighborhoods and entire cities or regions. In this paper we study the urban design process from a conjunction between perspective of Synergetic Inter-Representation Network (SIRN) and Construal Level Theory (CLT). The first refers to a sequential process of interaction between internal representations constructed in the mind~brain and external representations (e.g. the design media) constructed in the world; the second refers to the process of abstraction in terms of psychological distance. Our SIRN-CLT view on scale in urban design sheds new light on the relations between the scale of the design object, the design medium and the design process. We show that urban design deals with hybrid large-scale and complex design objects. An example from the domain of urban design is given to illustrate is view.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
ISSN (Print)2213-8684
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8692


  • Building Envelope
  • Design Object
  • Design Process
  • External Representation
  • Urban Design


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