What Makes Cities Attractive, and our Intellectual Confusion about Beauty

John Shaski4 comments605 views
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Pertinent to our discussions here of garden criticism – right or wrong – enjoy this video by architecture writer Alain de Botton.  At about 11:15 he gets to the “first obstacle to beautiful cities” – the intellectually confused position that no one has the right to say what’s pretty or not, a stand that he asserts is “horribly useful to greedy land developers.”

Via Greater Greater Washington.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on March 14, 2015 at 7:58 am, in the category Everybody’s a Critic.


  1. This was very interesting. Unfortunately, cities don’t have leverage over developers unless we’re in a good economy — politicians compete to get tax-paying corporations into their jurisdictions. In the suburbs, this also means strip malls without any landscaping required to dampen the ugliness.

  2. I have enjoyed reading Alain de Botton for years, and so glad you posted this opinion piece of his. Cities can have leverage over developers – it’s the responsibility of the citizens to enact laws over developer and development. The easier time to enact these laws are when the economy is good. However, from local government up to big government, the developers have enormous influence in getting the laws to favor them

  3. When development is uncontrolled in a person’s body they call it cancer. Viewed from the air these uncontrolled urban developments look cancerous too. Hurrah for the tiny New Urbanism efforts springing up here and there. I live near such a community and it has really improved people’s quality of life. I know because when I walk through it everyone’s face is smiling.

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