complexity recognition

by agnes s.

“We should certainly recognize that the old cities whose organic complexity Jacobs admired show the mark of planning: not comprehensive planning, certainly, but the insertion, into the fabric of the city, of localized forms of symmetry and order, like the Piazza Navona in Rome, or the Suleimaniye mosque and its precincts in Istanbul. And those are projects entirely motivated and controlled by aesthetic values. The principal concern of the architects was to fit in to an existing urban fabric, to achieve local symmetry within the context of a historically given settlement. No greater aesthetic catastrophe has struck our cities—European just as much as American—than the modernist idea that a building should stand out from its surroundings, to become a declaration of its own originality. As much as the home, cities depend upon good manners; and good manners require the modest accommodation to neighbors rather than the arrogant assertion of apartness.”

Roger Scruton, The High Cost of Ignoring Beauty, The American, 2009.