13 January 2009

Mathematicians on roofs

I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof (video, 17 minutes). Ron Eglash talks about African fractals. It seems that fractals of one sort or another show up naturally in designs used both decoratively and functionally in various modern African cultures. (As far as I can tell from the video, Eglash is not claiming this is something unique about Africa. I'm curious if he addresses this question in his book, African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design, which I have not yet read because I didn't know it existed until this morning.) The title of this post comes about because the best way to see how a village is designed is to stand on the roof of the tallest building.

1 comment:

Sean Henderson said...

I've actually seen this fractal idea show up in a German social studies class when I was overseas. They were talking about the best way to organize a city so that there was a general feel of equal access to all of the main functions of the city, i.e. the City hall offices and hospital were in the middle of town, schools were about half-way out in the centers of hexagons, with stores surrounding those and then the rest was for housing. It was an interesting idea. I wish I could remember it in more detail.