TRAPS

Architecture today needs design strategies that possess the ability not merely to maintain themselves in the face of change, but that actually realize the constructive role that anticipating change can play in opening the window for novelty. In order to do this, the architect must, like any good player in a game… that deals with probability, provide or build in the “bait” that will tilt the odds ever so slightly in favor of his his or her intent, without at the same artificially limiting the outcomes or providing inferior alternatives. By “bait” I mean specific architectural and/or programmatic elements which which have both a provisional immediate use, and at the same time sow the seeds for a variety of plausible futures – serving as attractors or nuisances which influence (encourage or deter) future choices and development in a non-prescriptive way. Game theory suggests that looser rather than tighter strategies are most instrumental in this regard, due to their capacity to be transformed and made more complex; they allow the bait to be placed within them rather than attempting to incorporate it into the design of the trap itself.

Roger Sherman, The Infrastructural City, p.204

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