Is Ecumenopolis Materializing? The Role of Transportation and Communication Networks
Keywords:Ecumenopolis, global networks, ekistics
Of the many theories put forward for the future of urbanism and urbanization, the concepts of Eperopolis (the continent city) and Ecumenopolis (the universal city) that were put forward by the late architect planner Constantinos Doxiadis and his Ekistics theory in the 1950s and ‘60s, stand out as the most impressive and visionary. Panayis Psomopoulos, Doxiadis’ close associate and well-known architect planner of the Ekistics group, continued and developed further these concepts and publicized strongly through the Ekistics Journal which he managed as editor-in-chief until his passing away in 2017. This paper – conceived and written as a tribute to Panayis Psomopoulos - looks at the global trends of urbanization today and considers the role of transport and communication networks in its future development. It also tries to assess the degree to which the visions of Eperopolis and Ecumenopolis are materializing in the face of modern megacities and urban sprawl in all continents and how transport, communications and supply chain networks affect this process. Its findings support the view that Eperopolises are already materializing in some continents, most notably in Europe in the face of the central European urban cluster between Paris, London, Amsterdam and the Rhine/Ruhr area. Transport and communications networks provide “global connectivity” that acts both as the context (within which urban form develops) as well as the catalyst that plays a key role in limiting the further physical expansion of megacity clusters and braking the connection between urban development and space expansion. By providing efficient global “connectivity”, the future Transport and communication networks are seen as the main catalyst that will bring about materialization of the “universal city”, Ecumenopolis, through the virtual linking of all socio-economic activities in today’s mega-urban areas in all continents.
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