(A) INTRODUCTION by :- Professor John G. Papaioannou
The Role of Ekistics in Long-Term Projections
(Methodology and Reliability of Results)

Ekistics (Ek), a global science of Human Settlements (HS) (small or large, ancient, modern or future, isolated, in groups or regions, examined
whole or in their constituting parts, from all aspects – geographic, economic, social, cultural, administrative and legal, aesthetic, technological
etc.) has been defined and described by C.A. Doxiadis, his collaborators at the Athens Center of Ekistics (ACE), in the journal Ekistics (since
1956), and at the World Society of Ekistics (WSE), and elsewhere. In particular, a number of future-oriented aspects of Ek have been
described in the 2nd Red Book: Ecumenopolis, the Inevitable City of the Future, by C.A. Doxiadis and J.G. Papaioannou, Athens 1974 and
New York 1975, and in over 350 internal reports of the ACE research project The City of the Future (COF), since 1959, recently summarized
in the journal Ekistics by J.G. Papaioannou (see References).
Ek seems to offer a useful tool for the exploration of the future. Indeed, in many respects it seems to offer a methodology of future research
more reliable than most other fields in the human sciences, a fact (sufficient reliability of future projections) shown here, whenever referred to,
by an asterisk (*). This is due mainly to the fact that most human sciences base their future projections on extrapolations from recent or
present trends, even if they take into account modifications of present conditions expected to take place in the future and change the course of
extrapolations. Even when corrected in this way, extrapolations are known to be patently unreliable. In such seemingly simple cases as human
fertility and population projections (not to mention economics, social or political conditions, culture etc.) experts have often found themselves
grossly out of scale, even in short-term projections. Ek does take extrapolations into account, but is fundamentally based on the opposite
course – rather than attempting to reach the future beginning with the present, it tries to do so coming backwards from a still more remote
future situation, which can be assessed with increased safety. This refers to the fact that humans do, and will undoubtedly continue to, inhabit
the earth for a long time. The surface of this planet, and its size (510 million km2) is perfectly fixed and not expandable. At some future point,
this surface, mainly land, will become saturated. Signs of saturation in other fields have already started appearing, with land uses
corresponding to the demands of humans at a given time. This, together with a few more assumptions about habitability of surfaces, types of
land use, patterns of land occupation and their geometry, results in a broad pattern of urbanization of the Earth, expected to be attained, in
sufficiently developed form, somewhere between the middle and the end of the 22nd century. This pattern is called Ecumenopolis (Ecp)*,
(figure 1) i.e. the ecumene or universal city.
This does not represent a whim, flight of fancy, or a utopian wish, from the authors, an “ideal city of the future”, but, on the contrary, the most
likely future development, according to physical and biological constraints and laws. It represents, as detailed modelling and analysis have
shown, an inevitable pattern of urban development that can be varied considerably in its details, according to changing developments and
conditions, but in such a way as to keep it “bound to follow”, at least in rough lines, the overall configuration of Ecp. This finding does confer,
at least in part, considerable safety* and assurance* for ek projections up to 1 1/2 to 2 centuries or more, and somewhat less for up to 5
centuries or more. A second category of the advantages of ek projections concerns their being well defined in space* and time*. Space
definition (Ecp pattern) is particularly clear because of the physcial geography of the planet: time definition is also clear because the beginning
of the evolutionary curves leading to Ecp is firmly anchored in the present, recent past and near future facts. The end point is fixed by Ecp as a
saturation pattern, and the intervening portions of these curves result from likely scenarios describing the evolution toward Ecp.
To better understand the spatial configuration of Ecp, it helps to take into account a complementary concept, equally developed within the
COF project: Ecumenokepos* (Eck) (figure 2), the universal garden on this Earth.

For detailed reading


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