Alain de Botton is a Swiss philosopher and writer who heads a London-based organization called the School of Life, which is “devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture.” They recently released this video (which I saw today via Slate) that claims to outline the qualities necessary in building a beautiful city. They are:
- Not too chaotic, not too ordered.
- Visible life
- Orientation and Mystery
- Make It Local
The entire video is worth watching. Even if you think some of his proposals impractical — like replacing most skyscrapers with vast collections of five-story buildings (five stories being the ideal maximum height for keeping buildings at human scale) — it’s worth considering how “more and more in modern cities, we’ve hidden life away.”
Don’t we all appreciate how active street life creates pleasurable spaces? As has been noted on this blog before, that’s got a lot to do with why the Trinity Toll Road strikes so many as a huge mistake. Instead of seizing the potential opportunity to create a vast public area in which human beings — not their cars — can come to interact, some leaders want to throw down another soulless stretch of concrete that will communicate to anyone who visits Dallas that it’s best to get the hell out of town as quickly as possible.Full Story