1.0 Ekistics and Dynapolis

Constantinos Apostolos Doxiadis imposed two ideas onto the planning of Baghdad: Ekistics and Dynapolis.

The appearance of these two ideas was directly resulted from growing and expanding human settlement. Doxiadis saw the rate of acquiring design skill by architects failed to catch up with the evolution of city, for which he believed by learning from Ekistics, one could be better equipped to design the fast changing future city. Doxiadis also drew attention to the inefficiency of the expansion of city at that time, for which he suggested to replace the static city with dynamic city dynapolis. (Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, 1968)

“Ekistics (from oikos, the ancient Greek word for a house or dwelling) is the science of human settlements. It co-ordinates economics, social sciences, political and administrative sciences, technology and aesthetics into a coherent whole and leads to the creation of a new type of human habitat.”(Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, 1968)(fig 1.) It is composed of five Ekistics elements: nature, anthropos, society, shells, and networks, with a target to build the city of optimum size with respect to human scale. The building a city should cater carefully every scale from small to large, for which Doxiadis laid out a system of calculating the population figure of Ekistics units, which was based on the aforementioned five elements of ekistics. The results could then be categorized according to Ekistics Logarithmic scale.(Doxiadis, Ekistics, the Science of Human Settlements , 1970)(fig 2.) Baghdad was planned to hold 3 million residents as optimum, which should fall in the category of “Metropolis”. The development for Baghdad continued for smaller scales into district, street and house.

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Fig 1. Generation of city scale © 1968, C. A. Doxiadis

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Fig 2. Ekistics Logarithmic scale © 2013, Saima Sabit Ali


Dynapolis is “the city of the future, conceived as a city which can expand and always be ready to create a new centre and new neighbourhoods.” The central area would have the function to serve the entire city while the peripheral area was composed of individual buildings or group of buildings. The expanding parabolic Dynapolis eventually took shape in rectilinear forms based on a rectilinear system of axes.(fig 3.) The reason for using rectilinear form was because “any synthesis of spherical or cylindrical houses seems impossible, uneconomic and definitely non-urban.” (Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, 1968)(fig 4.) The Tigris was chosen as the main axis of Baghdad with the rest of the Dynapolis rested well in a rectangular grid.

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Fig 3. Transition from parabolic to rectilinear Dynapolis © 1985, C. A. Doxiadis

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Fig 4. Imposition of grid system in different scales © 1985, C. A. Doxiadis




Doxiadis, C. (1968). Architecture in Transition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Doxiadis, C. (1970). Ekistics, the Science of Human Settlements . Science , 393-404.

1 Comment on “1.0 Ekistics and Dynapolis

  1. Great diagrams! The expansion city plans look like a stepped horizontal skyscraper! Get the diagrams bigger, and find a way to connect to Baghdad quickly, rather than describe Ekistics (Journal) and Dynapolis (Theory) in isolation.

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