Saturday, August 3, 2013

Anti-Patterns that Destroy Urban Interfaces

Extract from:


Most of the known architectural and urban anti-patterns were created by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). Characteristic of all viruses, there is no completeness in the sense that we have an organism that metabolizes and interacts with others in an ecosystem. What we have is a nonliving informational code, or meme, whose sole purpose is to reproduce itself. For this reason, a mind-virus is given as a simple image, and not as a formula or solution to a problem. I have noted below some of the most destructive urban anti-patterns. These have infected the minds of people alive today, and work to displace patterns from the collective subconscious. This is the reason why it is extremely difficult to reintroduce Alexandrine patterns back into today's society.
  1. ABSOLUTE RECTANGULAR GRID
  2. SEGREGATION OF FUNCTIONS
  3. SHEER CONTINUOUS WALLS AT STREET LEVEL
  4. BUILDING SETBACKS
  5. EMPHASIS ON THE LARGE SCALE
  6. SEPARATED BUILDINGS
  7. VERTICAL STACKING
  8. GEOMETRY OF STRAIGHT LINES
  9. NON-INTERACTING UNITS
  10. UNNATURAL MATERIALS
  11. SUPPRESSION OF GEOMETRICAL PATTERNS
  12. ELIMINATION OF THE HUMAN SCALE
This list underlines my point. There is no scientific support for any of these twelve anti-patterns, despite the false claims made by Le Corbusier, and repeated later by his apologists. Scientific investigation of human interactions proves that these twelve anti-patterns prevent the normal activity in a city that drives people to inhabit urban regions in the first place. Anti-patterns become so deeply embedded into a culture, however, that any questioning of them threatens many people's essential being. Those persons are certainly unwilling to admit that they have allowed themselves to be infected with mind-viruses. Their mind is their self, and so they will defend their prejudices as forcefully as they will defend their life (6) .

Taken as a set of working rules, the above dozen anti-patterns have been used in a method of urban design to build cities throughout the world. They combine well together, and support each other. They have a consistency which is mistaken for adaptivity 3 . Because of this consistency, they give a result that is standard and easily identifiable: it is the modernist anti-city that treats human beings as emotionless machines. In a recent essay (7) , Michael Mehaffy and I argue that the application of modernist urban anti-patterns around the world, by erasing the traditional urban fabric, is in part responsible for the rage the non-industrialized world feels against the industrialized nations. - Nikos A. Salingaros

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