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.

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…

James K.A. Smith in Practices Making Community at Judson’s Didier Symposium

The Judson University Department of Architecture and the Association for Christians in Architecture will host the fifth annual James Didier Symposium On Christ & Architecture Sept. 15-16. …. This year’s symposium will include an impressive roster of featured guest speakers who will take on challenging and relevant topics: • “Places of the Heart: How We Learn to Love” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Calvin College professor of philosophy and author James K.A. Smith will address the Judson community, including architecture students and faculty, visiting architects, arts professionals, as well as place-based and home schooling educators. He will explain what…

Design for the One Percent | Jacobin

Not so long ago, the world’s leading architects debated how architecture could be used to transform society by providing housing for workers, improving public health, and fostering social solidarity. Today, global architecture is peopled with “starchitects” like Hadid who specialize in mega projects for the global elite. Some of the starchitects’ projects are beautiful, to be sure. But they also often waste public money, facilitate corrupt and exploitative practices, and strengthen a planning model that excludes the populace from decision-making. Many architectural creations are poorly constructed, requiring exorbitant maintenance costs (invariably following massive budget overruns) and lacking consideration for the…

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…

The Stones of Washington by Michael Knox Beran, City Journal December 26, 2015

Like so many other new-made towns, Washington lacks whatever it is that gives Old Western (I have followed C. S. Lewis in capitalizing the words “Old Western” as he did in his lecture “De Descriptione Temporum”) cities like Arles and Kraków, Munich and Venice, their charm and interest. It would be extravagant to criticize Lewis for his failure to ask why Washington lacks this deeper civic artistry: yet it is difficult not to conclude that the problem of Washington—essentially the problem of the American city—is bigger than Lewis allows.A truly revealing history of any American town, big or small, would…

79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation. | The Infernal Machine

Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter-thesis, and a string of arguments, usually buttressed by citations of Aristotle, Augustine, or the Bible. But disputations were not just formal arguments. They were public performances that trained university students in how to seek and argue for the truth. They made demands on students and masters alike. Truth was hard…

Habermas on the Upper West Side by Elizabeth Powers | Articles | First Things

I have become intrigued, however, by the conjunction of a high material standard of living with liberal opinion, especially the way in which the possession of the former protects the holder of the latter from its outcomes. To put the matter in terms that most people recognize: a breach characterizes the behavior of liberals (for that is how I will refer to my neighbors from here on out), a breach between preaching and practice. This breach, however, is accompanied by an anomaly. It is not simply the case, say, that liberals favor the rainbow curriculum for other people’s children while…