Cities Alive

Robert Steuteville reviews Michael Mehaffy explaining Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander. post

Urban renaissance in the Portland Perl district.

Historic cities and towns were built by centuries of knowledge encoded into culture. Conscious and unconscious, that culture produced plazas of great beauty in Tuscany hilltowns, the winding and intimate back alleys of Beijing, and iconic US main streets. Beauty itself is not merely aesthetic, Mehaffy explains, but rather a marker for what is good for us as human beings. amazon

More so than Jacobs and Alexander, Mehaffy addresses cities and towns at all scales. Cities are going through a renaissance in the US and elsewhere, brought about in no small part by these two thinkers, who challenged the dominant forces of architecture, starting in the mid-20th Century.