The shorter Oxford English Dictionary contains a reference to an ecist, oekist or oikist, defining him as: "the founder of an ancient Greek In addition, the adjectives ekistic and ekistical, the adverb ekistically, and the noun ekistician are now also in current use. The notion of ekistics implies that understanding the interaction between and within human groups—infrastructure, agriculture, shelter, function job -- in conjunction with their environment directly affects their well-being individual and collective. The subject begins to elucidate the ways in which collective settlements form and how they inter-relate. Ekistics in some cases argues that in order for human settlements to expand efficiently and economically we must reorganize the way in which the villages, towns, cities, metropoli are formed. This is a mistake for which we pay very heavily.

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Ekistics, by C. Doxiadis The problems and science of human settlements Interactions between humans and their settlements generate countless socio-spatial combinations, at various scales. The discipline dealing with this whole spectrum is the Ekistics and its creator was the Greek architect Constantinos A.

Credits: Urban Cosmography To discuss Ekistics, the most comprehensive referene is the book Ekistics: an introduction to the science of human settlements.

There is also an entire series of magazines called Ekistics: the problems and science of human settlements published from to by architect Doxiadis Associates and editor Jacqueline Tyrwhitt. From Man to Ecumenopolis The word ekistics was coined by Doxiadis in and it refers to the human act of settling. Ekistics is a science, defined to meet the crisis of human settlements started in the XX century.

And one could add more to this list. Human settlements are, namely, the settlements of men. The degree to which man leaves his imprint on nature, where and how he dwells, determines different scales of human settlement.

Ideally, they span from a room until an urbanized region, and more. In fact, the largest possible container for humanity is the whole surface of Earth. When it comes to human settlements, Doxiadis challenges the concept of boundaries, as each settlement is always part of something bigger: from house to neighborhood, to village, city, metropolitan area, etc.

On whatever scale we examine a human settlement, be it a small house, a village, a minor city or a major region containing a metropolis and other cities, we will discover that the entire area constitutes a human settlement. Ekistic relationships To highlight what he believes was the main criticality in the study of human settlements, Doxiadis broke down the two components - man and container - into five further elements: 1.

Nature, the first and essential foundation for our life; 2. Men, who aggregate and form 3. Society; 4. Networks, the facilities that serve the functioning of the settlement, i.

Man needs time to live and his functions need time to take place. Although they are not physically visible, time and functions are the dynamic elements that bring any human settlement to existence because they create interrelation between man and its container. Although in practice the study of human settlements is often limited to either contents or the container, this is wrong, since the essential nature of human settlements involves both elements, and the proper study of human settlements is the study of the interrelationship of these elements.

An ambitious laboratory As we said, Ekistics was conceived as science to respond to the human settlement crisis. If we remember the general and comprehensive perspective of Doxiadis, this global view does not seem exaggerated.

In fact, we are living the same problems in The causes for such crisis are to be found in the tremendous increase of population and rate of urbanization of the last century. Fast changes and development made it often impossible for men to adjust and adapt in new urban environments.

Urban wealth went off the rails of economy and social changes. To be better understood, Ekistics must be seen in relation to other sciences. The lack of a systematic approach towards the urban problems and particularly the need of coordination of all the intersectional fields related with human settlements, lead to the creation of Ekistics. Doxiadis figured that the only way to guide a more fair development was coordinating knowledge and ideas in a systematic, methodical, and structured way.

The work done by Doxiadis and his group on a subject such complex as human settlements was immense. Starting from the analysis of hundreds of human settlements, he investigated their evolution, pathology and diagnosis of their problems. Often drawing from his design practice - he was involved in several programs and plans of settlements, the most known is that of Islamabad - he shaped the body of the Ekistic theory to explain the causes of such urban crisis.

Following the tendency of those years towards progressively larger and more complex conurbations, in Doxiadis founded the Athens center of Ekistics where he worked on attempts to foresee the settlements of the future.

They give an idea on the wideness of topics covered by the magazine Ekistics: the problems and science of human settlements published monthly for almost 50 years. Achieving a synthesis The legacy of Doxiadis work on the discipline of Ekistics is inestimable. The official "Constantinos A. Doxiadis Archives" are hosted at the Benaki Museum of Athens and, thanks to a generous donation, several volumes of Ekistics the magazine can be found at the Library of the Architectural Department of the National Technical University of Athens.

Ekistics is a call to action for all professionals, especially those in the field of spatial design such. We, architects, have long failed in being involved in the solution of human settlements problems, giving minimum contribution with very limited influence. We have confined ourselves in designing few buildings, and we seldom contribute to a better human habitat as a whole. The deductive approach of Doxiadis - solving big problems will fix smaller ones - and his view of a total settlement - like he said "an anthropocosmos" for a global society - constitute today a precious reminder on the importance of sharing knowledge and taking action.

I am now convinced that what is basically wrong with human settlements in our era is that we can conceive neither a way of life nor its expression in a total settlement. If we can solve this problem we will find the road which leads to the solution of all partial problems.



He graduated in architectural engineering from the Technical University of Athens in , obtaining a doctorate from Charlottenburg University today Technical University of Berlin a year later. He distinguished himself as Minister of Reconstruction at the end of the war and it was this experience that allowed him in the s to gain large housing contracts in dozens of countries. In Doxiadis was a coordinator of the Greek Recovery Programme and under-secretary of the Ministry of Coordination. In the company changed its name to DA International Co. Consultants on Development and Ekistics. The family returned to Greece. One of his best-known town planning works is Islamabad.


Constantinos A. Doxiadis

Paul has an intuitive design sensibility, and has gained an international reputation for innovative, site sensitive and ecologically sustainable design in the field of urban design, site planning and resort architecture. A published writer and adjunct professor, Paul lectures internationally on the subject of new urbanism, site planning, golf course community design, and sustainable urban design. Born on the east coast and raised in central Canada, Paul calls the west coast home. He approaches the disciplines of design and planning as partners in place making, seeking to foster understanding and strengthen the relationship between policy and built form, purpose and experience. Work in Canada has increasingly required a broad spectrum of skills extending well beyond innovative design and planning to include market and financial feasibility, stakeholder engagement, infrastructure design standards, and development negotiation.


Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis


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