Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Real City

"A city is not a man-made thing. Rather, it emerges from the actions of its inhabitants, who interact in unpredictable yet orderly ways. Under the right conditions – the right “rules of the game” – what arises is vital, creative, radically unpredictable, and profitable: the living city.

The modern demand to rationalize the city and to make it “more efficient” is misplaced. A living city cannot be efficient. Efficiency, in the economic sense, presupposes an overarching plan against which measured outcomes can be evaluated. A living city, however, follows no such plan. It is itself the unplanned, collective result of the countless individual plans executed continuously in it, day after day.

[ . . . ]

Earnest attempts to preserve large parts of the city or to consciously direct its evolution, like trying to preserve or control any complex living thing, will drain the life from it."
Ikeda is one of my economist heroes.

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