What drives new urban forms is the move from an economy of command and control to one based on individual choice or ‘autonomous democracy’. That change alters patterns of social organisation and the relationship between architecture and society. Ties based on communications networks are replacing ones which rely on geographical proximity. ‘Cities can no longer be linearly predicted and planned,’ but need to become ‘complex adaptive models with different forms of engagement.’ Though architecture as a modern project was a powerful social device, contemporary architects have not yet escaped its origins in a command and control economy. In consequence, architecture is still a ‘manifestation of control’ based on a fixed three dimensional image and a fascination with physical context which denies the fluid relationships that prevail in cities. Its function is to ‘create ideologies in architecture’. The Bilbao Guggenheim shows how limited the typical notion of context is: clearly unrelated to its surroundings, its titanim cladding, however, was only possible in a particular economic context because the price of the material was temporarily low.
Economic contextualism is one example of what Johar calls ‘Real Time Urbanism’. By devolving control from the centre to individuals, and retreating from universal truths to particular contingent opportunities, Real Time Urbanism allows such chances to be exploited. But because it is dependent on relativity it needs ‘a new set of tools for defining relationships’. Architecture will create parametrics rather than objects, with architects becoming more like DJs than the urban planners of the 20th century.