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

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…

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…

Reflections on ‘Responsive Environments’

Within the Joint Centre, therefore, there were three schools of thought; Dutch Structuralism (van Eyck, Hertzberger etc), Anglo Saxon Empiricism (Lynch, Hillier etc) and Latin Rationalism (or Latin American Morphologists which came from an influx of Latin American students into the centre). ‘Responsive Environments’ is an amalgamation of these somewhat disparate philosophies. As Ian Bentley described it “It’s like a mix and match shed that you keep adding bits to, in the end it somehow works but you’re not entirely sure why”. And it does work, the ideas which ‘Responsive Environments’ lays out are very simple – how do you create opportunities…

My role in de-skilling the arts | J. E. Johnson

David Pye avoided the word “skill” in his broadly influential book, The Nature and Art of Workmanship, preferring instead two more narrowly defined terms: the workmanship of certainty where “every operation during production has been predetermined and is outside the control of the operative” and the workmanship of risk where quality is determined by “care, judgment, and dexterity.”[3] More and more our studio depends upon the workmanship of certainty as we aspire less and less toward the workmanship of risk. So to compensate for our students insufficient care, judgment, and dexterity we have – like the proverbial boiled frog –…

The Best-Laid Plans [Review of Scott’s Seeing Like a State]

The 20th century has seen many grand schemes for improving the human condition. The collectivization of farming in the Soviet Union, compulsory villagization in Ethiopia and postcolonial Tanzania, the construction of Brasilia according to Le Corbusiers theories of urban planning, Maoist Chinas Great Leap Forward and the self-sufficient rural economy that was the goal of Pol Pots Cambodia were ambitious efforts to better the lot of humankind. The ideas inspiring the schemes and the regimes that attempted them were highly diverse. The human costs of the experiments varied from an immeasurable toll in broken lives in Russia and China to…