Computational Design Emergence by Complexity and Morphogenesis

Gürsel Dino, İpek
Sakaryalı, Anıl
Emergence is the form or behavior of natural or artificial systems, which materializes due to the system components’ interactions with each other and their environment. Emergent properties are a result of processes of self-organization of complex systems such as swarming behavior of birds, insect colonies, immune systems, cities, the World Wide Web, social interactions, etc., as well as processes of natural morphogenesis that exhibit behavior of growth and adaptation. Emergent systems are also closely related to the field of creative design, where novelty and utility are equally valued. Here, the idea that natural phenomena in nature emerge spontaneously from the interplay of intersity differences is extended to design, wherein design morphogenesis assumes the role of the generative mechanism. The ability of morphogenetic processes to adapt and transform renders the design form dynamic, mutable and evolvable through its transformative interactions. Similar to complex systems, therefore, morphogenetic forms can be said to be emergent. Computational design systems such as agent-based systems, cellular morphologies, branching systems, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms can simulate the mechanisms of emergent systems. Characteristics of such design systems exhibit non-linear bottom-up behavior are accompanied by qualities such as stochastics, spontaneity, unpredictability, irreducibility and innovation instead of typology and standardization. This paper explores the concept of emergence, its implications on and implementation in the creative design field. To this end, we first introduce characteristics of emergent systems in natural and artificial systems as well as design. We then present a design example of a generative system that makes use of diffusion-limited aggregation. Finally, we discuss the potentials and limitations of emergent design systems for both routine and creative design tasks
Citation Formats
İ. Gürsel Dino and A. Sakaryalı, “Computational Design Emergence by Complexity and Morphogenesis,” 2016, p. 226, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: