Review of Emergence: Morphogenetic Design Strategies

Weinstock, M. (2004). Morphogenesis and the mathematics of emergence. Architectural Design, 74(3), 10-17.

Michael Weinstock’s discussion of morphogenesis in his article “Morphogenesis and the Mathematics of Emergence” in Architectural Design intersects significantly with Lynn’s concept of forces interacting in an environment and influencing form.  Weinstock examines the way a given instance of a species or natural system grows and adapts to its environment.  Each instance, while of the same species, is influenced uniquely by the forces at work at its specific position in relation to those forces, resulting in specific forms and behaviors as the organism develops. In place of an exact blueprint of a fully-grown organism, instances of a species follow growth patterns that enable them to organize themselves in relation to each other and to local conditions.  The resulting forms and behaviors influence the patterns employed in successive generations, creating a feedback loop.  As organisms evolve in this way, they exhibit increased variety (called differentiation) and increased interconnectedness (called integration).  Unexpected and unpredictable forms emerge from these processes, but they are reflective of their environment and embed the influence of forces just as Lynn described.