Physics of the City

By Fiona Davies

Saw a post on Roger Malina’s site
titled “Free Will, Theory of Mind and the Physics of the City.   In it he talked about (and this is a
very rough summary) physics of the city being  the study of the motivation and the resulting movement  of individuals on a urban topology. The modeling of the motivation refers to two systems – free will and a theory of mind which is described primarily as a means of avoiding collisions.

The video work I did in Istanbul references the
patterns of movement of individuals, hand trolleys, cars and trucks in one T intersection in the retail hardware district. Early in the morning at roughly the same time for sixteen days I took a video of the sequences of movements  as three shops were opened up and prepared for the day’s trade.   The repetitive elements of the actions were  modified by the variations in the intersections of the daily patterning of the habitual movements .

In terms of motivation I observed a strong element of what appeared to be habit and have been pondering since reading Roger’s blog how this coincides with the idea of free will.  


An Interesting Thought – Study of the Bacteria resonsible for the Plague shows it followed the Silk Road to Europe from China.


‘The first outbreak of plague occurred in China more than 2,600 years ago before reaching Europe via Central Asia’s “Silk Road” trade route, according to a molecular “family tree” – mapped out last year – of 17 Y. pestis strains. It then spread to Africa, probably by an expedition led by Chinese seafarer Zhang He in the 15th century. In the late 19th century, plague came to the United States from China, arriving in the ports of California via Hawaii, according to this evidence.’


ex ABC news website Australia