Dr. Omid Vernoos
The Role of Human Metaphors on Urban Theories and Practices

This research investigates how metaphorical comparison of city to human may help to describe urban theories and solve city design challenges. To achieve this goal, metaphors in theory and practical application in one hand and the anthropological urban theories and practice in the other will be discussed. The discussion on metaphors comprises theories, models and the understanding mechanism of metaphors, and their application on architecture and urban discourses. While, the discussion on anthropological urban theories focuses on theories and practices in which the city is compared to human and argued by means of anatomical arrangement, physiological mechanisms or spiritual concepts. It is believed that, metaphorically structuring city by means of human concepts is beneficial as a comparative method for arguing the architecture of city and simplifying complex urban discourses. A chronological study of comparisons between city and human, from ancient Greek to contemporary time, shows a parallelism between the knowledge about human and the development of anthropological urban theories. Theoreticians and professionals have been benefited this parallelism to argue their theories or projects. But, how this comparison may contribute to meet the urban planning and design challenges is the gap, which this research tries to fill it by answering to the following questions:

  • What triggers philosophers, planners and architects to compare city to human?
  • How this comparison helps them to argue their theories or projects?
  • And how does it help to meet their planning and design challenges?