Alexander & Emerging ‘Images of the City’–On Form, Metaphor & Theory

Odeleye, Nezhapi-Dellé (2016) Alexander & Emerging ‘Images of the City’–On Form, Metaphor & Theory. In: Christopher Alexander’s - A City is Not a Tree: 50th Anniversary Edition. Sustasis Press In Association with Centre for Environmental Structure, pp. 139-162. ISBN 9780989346979

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Synopsis: This commentary uses the author’s own categorisation of key urban design approaches (an aide-memoire for introducing urban design methods to students) as a means of situating the strands of Alexander’s contributions to discourse on city form, which began with ‘A city is not a tree’. It explores possible origins of the tacit ‘tree-like’ thinking Alexander highlighted - including the significance of metaphor. It argues that the influence and implications of his original essay have yet to be fully examined. These include the misapplication of evolutionary ideas to societal organisation – given that archaeological evidence published since the early 1980s, reveals alternative routes to societal and urban complexity in various parts of the world - beyond those previously used to infer social and physical hierarchy as being one of the defining characteristics of a city. Understanding the diverse emergence & potential roles of other forms of urbanity may be crucial not only in recognising a wider range of past examples to learn from - but also for generating more robust, alternative theories of ‘urbanity’ within our emerging, globalised images of the 'future city’.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Cities, Hierarchy, Complexity, Urban Archaeology, Town Planning, Urban design, Architecture
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Nezhapi-Delle Odeleye
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 12:41
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:14

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