Saturday, June 29, 2013

Take Care of What is Already There

As I am just finishing Genius Loci by Christian Norberg-Schulz, I came across an amazing bit of knowledge. "Regimes come and go, the place persists, and with it a particular kind of human identity. When we have realized this fact, we should start to improve the world by taking care of our places, rather than by abstract planning and anonymous building." This passage was taken from Karl Popper from his work The Powerty of Historicism.

I want to focus on "taking care of our places, rather than by abstract planning and anonymous building" because this spoke to me the strongest. As a fan of Jane Jacobs, this makes total sense to me and reading it in this context opened my eyes to  an even broader benefit of taking care of what we already have. As Jacobs would tell us, caring for the buildings and neighborhoods that are already there offer a means to create vibrant and meaningful cities that are used passionately by its citizens. Norberg-Schulz shows us that this same philosophy can be applied at a wider scale to keep cities and regions vibrant throughout the ages, thus allowing the citizens to stay "Roman" or "Russian" or "German" as it is said in the book.

It seems to me that this is what being an urbanist truly is and when applied creates a genuine Genius Loci.

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