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…

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…

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…

News Bulletin | Prime Minister adopts ResPublica proposals

This week, the Prime Minister announced that some of the UK’s least attractive housing estates are to be torn down and replaced with attractive, safe homes: a move we called for in our Community Right to Beauty report. The scheme is set to be part of a series of measures to improve the life chances of the most disadvantaged, supporting the arguments ResPublica will continue to make through its Backing Beauty campaign. Regular access to beauty in both rural and urban settings is open only to a narrow section of society, with households earning over £45,000 most likely to find the area they live in beautiful. Our report published…

It’s time to rethink the entire role and language of architecture | Cities | The Guardian

As architects, we are living at a time of shifting paradigms. In the past, the scale of our designs grew large, but how many people were we really engaging with? Today, we understand better the sheer complexity of the issues at play when we design and plan buildings, neighbourhoods and even entire cities – and this demands a new, more open approach. It’s why I’m so interested in how architects and urban planners engage with other fields – economics, security, the environment and so on. Our challenge must be to go beyond architecture and speak the languages of these other…

Blast from the past: America’s got architecture! | Architecture Here and There

In my weekly column, called “Architecture critic, heal thyself!” and posted this morning, I referred to the elephant in architecture’s living room. That is the fact that most Americans prefer traditional to modern architecture. Among other evidence for this is the survey taken by the American Institute of Architecture to commemorate its 150th anniversary, in 2007. Even though the survey was double-blind, in that average Americans got to choose buildings only from a master list already selected by members of the AIA, the favorite buildings were still overwhelmingly traditional and classical. via Blast from the past: America’s got architecture! |…

Architecture Continues To Implode: More Insiders Admit The Profession Is Failing

Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence. More and more mainstream figures in the field are admitting that the profession has lost its way. As I previously mentioned, Frank Gehry, the world’s most famous architect, recently said that “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.” Architectural thought-leaders seconded and thirded him. And he’s since been fourthed by another. Last year, recognizing general public’s low opinion of architects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the trade organization for the profession, launched an effort to “reposition”…