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The City as a Living Organism

Cities are complex systems, composed of multiple interacting entities between humans, communities, infrastructures and objects across a range of urban social settings. These interactions can grow, spread or dissipate, exhibiting emergent properties. The generated works approaches the city as a living organism, using urban data as a design material to visualise patterns of human consumption behaviours and its interaction across the city of Edinburgh. The dataset is driven by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which measures the city's deprivation according to: income rate, employment rate, crime rate, housing rank, health rank, education rank, drug consumption, alcohol consumption, to name a few. The work here focuses on drug and alcohol consumption data values by selecting 8 sites in Edinburgh, namely: Calton Hill, Leith, Fountainbridge, Old Town, New town, Stockbridge, Meadows and Morningside. The design process uses agent-based simulation for encoding these chosen data values into three dimensional time-based forms, later materialised into 3D printed objects.

This project was funded by the Institute of Design Informatics, led by Dr Benjamin Bach's research on the role of data visualisation in communicating inequalities.

Project type:




Design Research


Agent-based simulation, Digital Fabrication

Data visualisations, Generative animations, 3D printed artefacts

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