A thought-provoking post from Florent Crivello. Engineers’ continuously seek structure and organization assuming that it’s a proxy for efficiency. Here the author points out that with new tools enabling AI systems to design the most efficient way to construct things, you don’t get anything remotely like what a human would generate.
Bottoms-up systems like organically-spreading cities, evolved species, weather patterns, and the like don’t naturally form looking like an urban planner’s dream — they’re much messier (but often the most efficient).
Planners may make their maps look better when they use zoning to separate the city into business, residential, and commercial neighborhoods, but they also destroy a subtle, efficient balance. They forget that the only activity that goes on in any city is that of people living their lives, which requires all the activities above — preferably in close proximity. Splitting a city into residential, commercial and business zones is like throwing dough, cheese and pepperoni into the different compartments of a bento box and calling it a pizza.