Challenging the notion that beauty is subjective, Alain de Botton has made a case for attractive cities, believing that a city’s beauty is key to its success and citizens' quality of life. The Swiss philosopher, author and founder of London's The School of Life believes that attractiveness is the primary reason why many choose to vacation to Paris, and not Frankfurt.
"We think beauty is subjective, and so no one should say anything about it," says Botton. "It's a very understandable qualm, but it's also horribly useful to greedy property developers.”
So, what makes a city attractive? Find out Botton’s six points for beautiful cities, after the break.
- Variety and order - “Order means balance, symmetry and repetition… Order is one of the reasons so many people love Paris… However, excessive order can be just as much a problem.”
- Visible life - “There are streets that are dead and streets that are alive. And in general, we crave the live ones.”
- Compact - “All the most beautiful compact cities have squares… The ideal square must offer a sense of containment not claustrophobia.”
- Orientation and mystery - “By definition, cities are HUGE. But the cities that a lot of people love also have lots of little backstreets and small lanes where you can feel cozy and get a bit lost.”
- Scale - “Modern cities are all about BIG things. Joseph Campbell once wrote, ‘If you want to see what a society really believes in, look at what the biggest buildings on the horizon are dedicated too…’ The ideal height for any city block is 5 stories high - no more… Of course, occasionally there can be a huge building, but lets keep that for something really special - something all of humanity can love.”
- Make it local - “We don’t want building’s to look the same everywhere.”
News via CityLab