The World’s Most Beautiful Mathematical Equation – The New York Times

We all know that art, music and nature are beautiful. They command the senses and incite emotion. Their impact is swift and visceral. How can a mathematical idea inspire the same feelings? Well, for one thing, there is something very appealing about the notion of universal truth — especially at a time when people entertain the absurd idea of alternative facts. The Pythagorean theorem still holds, and pi is a transcendental number that will describe all perfect circles for all time. But our brains also appear to respond to mathematical beauty as they do to other beautiful experiences. Advertisements

Warrior for Truth and Beauty | City Journal

In many ways, Esolen’s book can be seen as a response to Mencken, a meditation on why beauty and truth are such inseparable mates—or contrariwise, why falsehood always begets ugliness. Certainly, Esolen’s concern for the absence of beauty in our culture has all of Mencken’s passionate solicitude. “Our young people are not only starved for nature,” he writes. “They are starved for beauty. Everywhere they turn, their eyes fall upon what is drab or garish.” Their schools, their music, their dress, their fast-food restaurants are unlovely. Indeed, even their churches are ugly. To gauge the quality of Esolen’s appreciation for…

‘The worst building in the world awards’ | Culture | Architects Journal

A massive gulf persists between the buildings that win architecture awards and those that  the public prefers, suggests research by Create StreetsIn 1987 a young psychologist conducted an experiment into how repeated exposure to an image changed perceptions of it. A group of volunteer students were shown photographs of unfamiliar people and buildings and asked to rate them in terms of attractiveness. Some of the volunteers were architects; some were not. As the experiment progressed, a fascinating finding became clear: while everyone had similar views on which people were attractive, the architecture and non-architecture students had diametrically opposed views on…

Create Streets

Create Streets is a non-partisan social enterprise and independent research institute focusing on the built environment. We encourage the creation of more and better urban homes with terraced streets of houses and apartments rather than complex multi-storey buildings. We support reform of the planning system to make it more effectively responsive to what people like in the built environment and campaign for community-led building and locally-supported estate regeneration to deliver homes that are popular and stand the test of time. Source: what we do – Create Streets

People prefer neo-traditional buildings — Adam Smith Institute

It seems obvious to me—and I think to most people—that housing built since the 1930s is by and large much less attractive than housing built before. But if this is true, and if we are much richer now than we were in the 1930s and before, then why would we build, buy and live in housing we don’t like? We have some sort of market in housing; surely if we really all preferred traditional housing styles we’d just buy it. A new paper (slides) provides the answer—at least if we can assume the UK and the Netherlands are similar in this respect….

Beautiful urban architecture boosts health as much as green spaces – Telegraph

A brisk walk in the countryside or a stroll along the beach is a well-known mood booster and health experts have long recommended getting out of the city improve physical and mental wellbeing. But a new study suggests that beautiful urban architecture, the sweep of docklands, or a gritty suburban river bank can have just as much impact on health and happiness levels. Researchers at the University of Warwick say it is ‘scenery’ not just ‘greenery’ which is important when determining what makes a positive environment. “The beauty of our everyday environment might have more practical importance than was previously…

Beautiful Places: The Role of Perceived Aesthetic Beauty in Community Satisfaction

Our main findings confirm the hypothesis: beauty and aesthetics are among the most important factors in perceived community satisfaction. In fact, only one of the coefficients, that for current economic conditions, was stronger. Our findings for beauty and aesthetics lend support to those by Glaeser et al. (2001), and Carlino and Saiz (2008), among others, who highlight the importance of amenities in urban and regional development.

John Hayes (Minister of State for Transport): The Journey to Beauty (2016)

The rarity with which the case for beauty is articulated is explained partly by timidity, and partly by unwillingness to challenge modernist determinism; by the surrender of many decent people to the Whiggish notion that the future is bound to be better than now and, in any case, there isn’t much we can do about altering it. The aesthetics of our built environment – including our transport architecture – has suffered from what Sir Roger Scruton has called the Cult of Ugliness. Yet there are signs that we’re on the cusp of a popular revolt against this soulless cult, and…

Stamps and Nasar: Design Review and Public Preferences (1997)

The findings confirm the stability of earlier research showing the public to dislike modern or atypical styles (Groat, 1982; Devlin & Nasar, 1989; Purcell & Nasar, 1992) and it confirms findings of a large effect of style independent of location of the style (Purcell & Nasar, 1992; Purcell, 1995). It also extends those findings in two ways. First, it shows the results as stable for respondents from two very different cities. It also shows the results as stable for respondents of differing levels of sensation seeking. Both high and low sensation seekers favored the popular styles to the high style…

Architecture and our duty to beauty | The Independent

… the case I have been making for beauty as public good rests on the fact that it does not require us to get into controversial disagreements about matters of fine aesthetic judgement. So, it may indeed be true that “beautiful” is not the only positive aesthetic judgement, but when we are concerned with public space, we are not primarily concerned with making those other kinds of judgements. What we’re interested in is simply creating or preserving a shared space that enhances the lives of people who live in it. I might think a building is utterly wonderful but concede…