Information Processing as it applies to urban and natural environmental analysis
Bavinger, Bill A.
Rowe, Peter G.
Master of Architecture
The nature of problem solving in the design professions is constantly increasing in its dependency on descriptive information. The design professions have developed, or borrowed from other professions, a number of specific techniques for dealing with information, but a generalized approach to the nature of information and its possible roles in the design process is just beginning. The need for a comprehensive understanding of this area becomes increasingly important as the scale of the design problem increases. By the time we get to city and regional scales the problem arena involves so much information that it is enormously complex. In fact, it becomes very difficult, and even illogical, to a priori determine either what or how much information is relevant to any given problem. A generalized approach to information processing proposed by this thesis provides a working alternative to the questions of what information, how much, and how it can be used. This thesis is a working investigation into the nature of descriptive information, how it can be coded and processed, and what it portends for the design professions. This investigation explores and develops a number of information processing capabilities which become an interactive working system for problem exploration at the urban and natural environmental scales. Two case studies are explored as a test of the working concepts. The first deals with descriptive information about natural environmental characteristics and their relationship to existing and future development for a large section of the Texas Gulf Coast south of Houston involving some 2,76 square miles of land and three counties. The second case study deals with urban descriptive information as it relates to a large section of Houston, Texas generally referred to as the Montrose Area. The case study section summarizes the thesis by providing working examples of the range of roles that a general information processing capability can have in decision making and design processes.