The Nature of Order
Via 2 Blowhards, I see Jim Kalb's analysis of a set of books called "The Pattern of Order." The books are a bit expensive, but here's what Jim Kalb says:
I’ve just finished reading The Phenomenon of Life, the first volume of Christopher Alexander’s four-volume work The Nature of Order.
It’s really extraordinary. For those who aren’t familiar with him, Alexander’s an architect and theoretician who’s horrified by the inhumanity of contemporary architecture and has spent his life trying to define principles that show how to do better.
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The Nature of Order, which was published just recently, is far more ambitious and quickly gets metaphysical and even cosmological. The purpose of the book is to lay out the most basic principles that govern whether a built environment is a place anyone would want to live. That requires a conception of good design that is integrated with what makes for a good human life.
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There’s a lot to be said about all this, and I will have further comments in further postings. For now, though, I’d just urge everyone to read the book. I don’t think everything he says is perfect, but the book is an enormous step forward, and I can’t think of another book on any topic published since the Second World War that strikes me as equally valuable.