and now for my next trick

alain de botton

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Alain de Botton is an author who writes about the city.  Here is an interview in which he discusses cities, diversity of ideas, contemporary work, light industry, the creative class, the 24 hour city.  Brimming with good ideas.


An excerpt from the linked clip:


Tyler Brule:

Why don’t you think there is more benchmarking?  Because you said, we’ve been building cities for millennia and if we look east at what’s happening in the gulf as well.  I think people are going to have vast tracts of land where people are going to be very unhappy, with long driveways and surrounded by walls and no gardens.  And we look at the Palms and the Worlds and all of these things.  I mean really no sense of community.  Why aren’t we learning from best practices and cities which are inspired?


Alain de Botton:

I think part of the problem is the idea that architecture is the preserve of geniuses, rather than craftsmen.  There’s a competition over what architecture is really about.  I think good architecture is closer to carpentry. 


We’re in the world of the bizarre and the strange.  If you look at the gulf states, or any of the modern cities springing up around the world, architects are vying with each other to create shapes that are ever more peculiar, that are sort of frightening and terrifying and horrifying.  But the idea of the ordinary is in decline.  Because I think that at the end of the day a good city is kind of ordinary, just like a table is quite ordinary.  Now you can have genius at the level of the ordinary and you can have mediocrity at the level of the extraordinary.  And I think that’s the distinction that these developers are missing. 


Written by Peter Rudd

February 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Posted in the city

Tagged with ,

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