Sedimentary City presents a process for spatial and temporal review of the city and speculates on alternative futures.

Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities"1are, each one of them, named and distinctly characterized.
Although separately imagined and vividly contrasting, Calvino’s many cities co-exist and are revealed to be simultaneously present and spatially layered or interwoven within the one city.
Implied is the concept that one city can be imagined to consist of many cities - as fragments caught by x-ray vision - that are made invisible when conflated and perceived unified.
Conceiving, naming and characterizing an ‘invisible city’ - through imagination, via an art form - invites the realms of memory and transformation to the project of implementing tomorrow’s city.

Where Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ may simultaneously co-exist in spatial layers, the cities, described (and implied) in Peter Myer’s The Third City, can be known as separate cities, each complete at any one time, yet all imagined to co-exist in temporal layers stitched together by enduring fragments in the way of an archeology.

Myer begins with ‘what if our present historical city was not the first urban structure to occupy the coastal region from Port Stephens to Kiama?” 2
In his search Myer constructs the primordial First City’s hypothetical history through contemporary remains yielding clues to the existence of vast, prehistoric monuments once found around Sydney Harbour.
Like these, and other city projects (such as those by Noble, O’Brien)3, Sedimentary City seeks to learn, understand and to recognize the city.

This project also has its roots in the work of French contextualist, Antoine Grumbach, co-founder of the Laboratory of Urban Form in Paris and who coined the term ‘La Ville Sedimentaire’, illustrated in the 1970s ‘Roma Interrotta’ project. 4

The process of Sedimentary City, involves a looking-back to look forward (and, looking forward to look back), in order to view the city as consisting of many cities - coexisting in both spatial and temporal contexts – and to inform the making of the future city. It is fairly self evident that the contemporary city has a spatial dimension and also that within it we see something of the past and already see something of the future.

The Sedimentary City project offers a process, not only for analysis and critique of the city but also one that invites the envisioning of alternative futures and in so doing looks to find a balance, order and continuity between the nature of the first city and the built environment of the contemporary city to re-interpret it into a vision for the survival of the future city.

1 Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities”, Vintage, London, 11997 (first published in Italy, 1972)
2 Peter Myers, “The Third City”, in Architecture Australia, Jan-Feb, 2000.
3 Louise Noble, “Brisbane : une analyse morphologique”, unpublished thesis;
Kevin O’Brien, “Sep Yama: Finding Country” www.findingcountry.com
4Antoine Grumbach, “La ville, processus et langage”, Project Urbain, 1998, Dec., no.15, 1998;
Antoine Grumbach, Roma Interrotta, in AD, Profile 20, 1979, v.49, n.3-4.;