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…

Christian thinkers call for a politics of ‘localism’

The participants, he said, “have always been ‘third way’ people” who do not wholly identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party and are focused on inventing a political philosophy that works for “our own neighborhood, communities, localities.” “Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, therefore we need to know who they are,” said Susannah Black, a Christian blogger who spoke at the conference. Another participant, Grace Potts, said she home-schools her six children and prefers to buy handmade goods from local vendors. “Where can I get fair-trade chocolate for the least price and from a local vendor?” Potts asks…

Faculty and Alumnus Honored with ICAA Acanthus Awards // News // School of Architecture // University of Notre Dame

The Acanthus Awards … honor exemplary student work in classical or traditional design from current students and recent graduates.  School of Architecture alumnus Christopher C. Miller, M. Arch ‘14, received recognition for his thesis project, Market Bridge for Bath:  Fitting Type to Local Character—Professor Richard Economakis was the thesis advisor.  Miller developed a plan for a mixed use neighborhood development in the area surrounding River Avon in the historic city of Bath in England. Source: Faculty and Alumnus Honored with ICAA Acanthus Awards // News // School of Architecture // University of Notre Dame See A Market for Bath:  Fitting Type to…

Life shouldn’t be ugly just because you’re poor | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times

[Mr. Hayes, the Transport Minister] did touch on a problem that is both important and gritty. There is a kind of inequality that few mention in this country — an inequality that is as stark and dispiriting as the rest. Let’s call it aesthetic inequality. Many deprived areas are horribly ugly — and we should take more seriously the effect this has on people’s spirits and lives. In the debate on poverty, all energy is expended on weighty issues such as welfare, education and housing. The views that frame our lives don’t get a look in. Yet how does it…

Humanism and the Urban World: Leon Battista Alberti and the Renaissance City, Caspar Pearson

“Everyone relies on the city,” wrote Leon Battista Alberti, “and all the public services that it contains.” This statement, delivered in such a matter-of-fact manner, indicates the exceptional importance of cities in the society in which Alberti lived. His world was an urban one. He was born in Genoa, grew up in Venice, was educated in Padua and Bologna, and subsequently lived and worked in Rome, Florence, Mantua, Rimini, and Ferrara. Fifteenth-century Italy, divided into a patchwork of city-states, boasted what was arguably the most developed urban society in Europe at the time. Moreover, Italy offered a wide variety of…

If a City Were Perfect, What Would It Look Like? – The New York Times

When Baldassare Castiglione described Urbino in 1506 as a “city in the form of a palace” he would probably have expected his more cultivated readers to catch the allusion to Leon Battista Alberti’s assertion in his “De re aedificatoria” (On the Art of Building) that “the city is like a great house, and the house in its turn a small city.” During his reign between 1444 and 1482, Federico da Montefeltro’s marvelous edifice played host to as much intellectual and artistic activity as entire cities many times Urbino’s size. And Alberti, along with Luciano Laurana, Piero della Francesca and Francesco…

Making the Garden by Christopher Alexander | Articles | First Things

The whole purpose of the work I have done is to show that the presence of God in a matter-­configuration is an objectively existing condition, and that there are specific paths and methods and habits of thought through which we may create buildings where the presence of God can be seen and felt. The two go hand in hand. …. That new vision can become a new source of inspiration and motivation. I call it new not because it is at root genuinely new. Of course it is not—it is ancient. But it is entirely new in our era to…