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What is the CECD? 
The CECD is an AHRC funded research group dedicated to examining the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultural behaviour, past and present. more>

Page Title - projects
Phase 1: Cultural innovation and transmission: Project 007
What processes govern settlement morphogenesis?

Mark Lake (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

It has been argued that in many, if not most cases, settlement form results from the repeated application of simple rules rather than global planning. Additionally, it has been suggested that in this context the usual relationship between genotype and phenotype is reversed, because the rules are retrieved from the built form rather than encoded separately. In order to further our understanding of the evolution of the built environment, it is vitally important to establish whether this mechanism of transmitting rules is capable (i.e. ensures sufficient fidelity) of supporting a process of descent with modification in the morphogenesis of settlement form. To accomplish this goal, this project will (1) use space syntax analysis to codify the configuration of space in a group of settlements, (2) identify repeated configurations in each settlement and proposes these as simple rules, and (3) conduct cladistic analyses to identify the presence of patterns of descent in the distribution of rules among settlements.

This project is currently inactive. If you are an interested graduate or prospective graduate student at University College London or Southampton University, and would potentially like to work on this project, please contact Mark Lake (CEACB, UCL).