Home / Events / Brain principles contribution to cities design. Spatial and temporal scales


Brain principles contribution to cities design. Spatial and temporal scales

01 dec 2022 09:00 - 02 dec 2022 17:00
IEA de Paris
17 quai d'Anjou
75004 Paris

Symposium organized by François Pitti, Director of Strategic Foresight, Bouygues Construction, Davide Ruzzon, architect, Tuned Lombardini22, Director of the Neuroscience and Architecture Program, University of Venice, and Alain Berthoz, Collège de France, as part of the Brain, Culture and Society Program of the Paris IAS.

Symposium in English. Free entrance upon compulsory registration. See forms at the bottom of the page.


The design of new cities and the management of old cities face complexities that require a renewal of all existing models and methodologies that fragment approaches into multiple actors that are difficult to coordinate. The major upheavals not only in climate and energy but also, for example, in lifestyles and issues of health, education, violence and security, etc., require new ideas and practices. A project to reflect on this subject has been launched since 2021 by the "Brain, Culture, and Society" Program of the Paris Institute for Advanced Study. It was conceived by an industrialist, François Pitti, an architect and teacher, Davide Ruzzon, and a neuroscientist, Alain Berthoz.
The central idea of the project is to investigate whether the principles of functioning of the brain and more generally of biological organisms, which have to deal with such complexities, can be useful to inspire a renewal of modern approaches and methods of the city. To focus the reflection on this vast question, a multidisciplinary group of experts has chosen first, the theme of "temporal and spatial scales". A second symposium entitled "Emotion and Memory" organized by the Neuroscience and Architecture program of the University of Venice will take place in 2023 in cooperation with the Paris IAS.

In keeping with the tradition of the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, each speaker is encouraged not to simply present his or her work but to propose new avenues at the boundaries of the disciplines. Discussions will also involve the public.

Program (subject to modification)

December 1, 2022


Saadi Lahlou (Director of the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science)
Simon Luck (Scientific Director of the Paris Institute for Advanced Study)
Gretty Mirdal (Director of the "Brain Culture and Society" Program of the Paris IAS, Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Emeritus Professor at the University of Copenhagen)

Alain Berthoz (Collège de France, CIRB, Paris. Member of the French Academy of Sciences and Academy of Technologies)
François Pitti (Director Strategic Foresight, Bouygues Construction)
Davide Ruzzon (Architect, TUNED Lombardini22 Milan, Director of the Neuroscience and Architecture Program, University of Venice)

09.30am - 01.00pm
1st Session – Cities design: Stakes and Challenges
Chairlady: Gretty Mirdal

François Pitti
(Bouygues Construction) “Mutation of Urban dynamics, Space design challenges and Life Science inspiration”.

Alan Penn (University College London) "Being and space"

Yves Bamberger (Former Director EDF Research Center, Vice President Academy of Technologies) "Some simple ideas on temporal and spatial scales in electric power systems"

Denise Pumain (Urban Geographer, Université Paris 1) "Scaling laws, scale dependency and time trajectories in systems of cities"

Davide Ruzzon (Architect, Tuned Lombardini22, Director of the Neuroscience and Architecture Program University of Venice) "MLXL From the belly of architecture to the public realm. Embodied simulation throughout the spatial scales: why its consistency could be so important?"

02.30pm - 06.30pm
2d Session  Neurosciences and Life sciences: Principles
Chairmen: Davide Ruzzon
and Antony Bechu

Alain Berthoz (Collège de France, CIRB) “Simplexity, vicariousness and multiple scales for multiple action spaces in the brain”

Laure Rondi-Reig (CNRS, Université Paris VI) "Brain networks for navigation and behavioral adaptation"

Daniel Bennequin (Université Paris Cité) "Topos geometries for human movements, architecture and life"

Tamar Flash (Weizman Institute, Israël) "Spatial and temporal scaling in movement production and perception in the brain"

Pascale Piolino (Université Paris V, Hopital St Anne) "Brain principles for temporal scales in autobiographical memory and scales in spatial navigation"

Shahar Arzy (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israël) "Processing of different spatial scales in the brain"

December 2, 2022

09.30am - 04.30pm
3rd Session – Inspiration from Brain Principles for Cities Design

Chairmen: François Pitti
and John Sutton (2022-2023 Paris Institute for Advanced Study Research Fellow)

Jean-François Daures (Architect, Agence Archivision) "The architecture hybridizing the elements of the plant kingdom is alive. It expresses itself both by evolving through time, and in all scales, from the microcosm to the macro-urban scale"

Clémence Béchu (Architect) & Antony Béchu (Architect, Member French Academy of Technologies) Biomimetic cities

Patrick Mauger (Architect, Member French Académy of Architecture) "A simplified model of how the humain brain is organized into three nested networks we use in architecture"

Serge Salat (Professor, Paris Special School of Architecture) "Inspiration from simplexity with regards to scale laws in urban dimensions"

Lunch break

Olivier Herbez (Architect) "Scales in the Architectural Design Process"

Kathryn Firth (Urban Design, London, and Harvard, USA) "The example of Covent Garden: walking, eating...scales through space and time"

Philippe Boudon (Academie des Beaux Arts) (To be confirmed) "Geometrical and Architectural spaces"

Jean-Claude Gallet (To be confirmed)

Fabien Leurent (Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement), CIRED, Ecole des Ponts, Paris). Discutant

Giovanni Vecchiato (PhD, Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council, University of Parma. Italy). Discutant

General discussion ( All speakers)

Free entrance upon compulsory registration. See forms below.

01 December 2022, 09:00 - 13:00
01 December 2022, 14:30 - 18:30
02 December 2022, 09:30 - 17:00
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02 Dec 2022 17:00
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