How to Make an Attractive City, by Alain de Botton

In this video, Alain de Botton – philosopher, author of ‘The Architecture and Happiness’, and founder of The School of Life – explores how to make attractive cities. He highlights the importance of evidence-based design that takes beauty meanings into account. Intead of focusing solely on functionality, the secret for a great city is the balance between function and the city’s identity.

According to de Botton, the six fundamental rules for a great city are: 1. Not too chaotic, Not too orderly; 2. Visible life; 3. Compact; 4. Orientation and mystery; 5. Scale; 6. Make it local.

And here are some interesting quotes:

“The obstacles to building beautiful cities are not economic. Collectivelly we have money. We face two main problems: Firstly an intellectual confusion around beauty, and secondly lack of political will.”

“Let’s not keep saying beauty is just in the eye of the beholder. That’s just a gift to the next wealthy idiot who wants to put up a horrible tower.”

“Beautiful cities have only ever been created when governments impose strict and ambitious regulations to keep the greedy private guys in check. (…) When governments give up on beauty we start to hate all buildings.”

… And all this makes me think of the future of Christchurch, not with great hope.

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