Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Coexistence' keyword pg.1 of 1
25 JUNE 2010

The Open City: The Closed System and The Brittle City

"The idea of an open city is not my own: credit for it belongs to the great urbanist Jane Jacobs in the course of arguing against the urban vision of Le Corbusier. She tried to understand what results when places become both dense and diverse, as in packed streets or squares, their functions both public and private; out of such conditions comes the unexpected encounter, the chance discovery, the innovation. Her view, reflected in the bon mot of William Empson, was that 'the arts result from over–crowding'. Jacobs sought to define particular strategies for urban development, once a city is freed of the constraints of either equilibrium or integration. These include encouraging quirky, jerry–built adaptations or additions to existing buildings; encouraging uses of public spaces which don't fit neatly together, such as putting an AIDS hospice square in the middle of a shopping street. In her view, big capitalism and powerful developers tend to favour homogeneity: determinate, predictable, and balanced in form. The role of the radical planner therefore is to champion dissonance. In her famous declaration: 'if density and diversity give life, the life they breed is disorderly'. The open city feels like Naples, the closed city feels like Frankfurt."

(Richard Sennett, 2006)

Fig.1 Busy street in Naples,
Fig.2 Paris, Les Olympiades, 1969–1974, Thierry Bézecourt in 2005
[3] Sennett, R. (2006). The Open City: The Closed System and The Brittle City. Urban Age.




Simon Perkins
08 OCTOBER 2003

Walzer: Democratic Polity Needs Openminded Spaces

Robert Fishman (Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning,)
One central theme of political philosophy in recent years has been the importance of public space for the vitality of democracy. A democratic polity needs what the philosopher Michael Walzer has called "openminded spaces," places where a wide variety of people can coexist, places where a wide variety of functions encourage unexpected activities, places whose multiple possibilities lead naturally to the communication that makes democracy possible. Americans used to show a remarkable talent in creating such places, but this talent has been lacking in first–ring suburbs, those developments built just after 1945. These places tend to be dominated by what Walzer has called "single–minded spaces," that is, spaces so rigorously defined for a single purpose that they exclude the liberating openness of genuine public space.


Americancoexistencedemocracy • openminded space • public space • Robert Fishman • single-minded • single-minded space • Walzer

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