Geometry and life of urban space

Nikos A. Salingaros, Pietro Pagliardini


This essay introduces rules for building new urban squares, and for fixing existing ones that are dead. The public square as a fundamental urban element behaves both as a node and as a connector of the urban fabric. Like the components of an organism, each urban element is itself highly complex, and this conception contradicts postwar design trends based on abstract simplistic ideas: those are imposed in order to control instead of stimulating social life. Urban structures, infrastructure, human beings, their activity nodes, and all their interconnections come together to form a “super-organism”, a complex and dynamic whole that is the city. This happens only when the geometry of the urban fabric is encouraged to develop in a living manner. The basic element of this “super-organism” is urban space that works with informational processes. In European culture, the square connects the local urban space with other squares, streets, and roads with a strong pedestrian use. A living city works through its connections to reach the properties of a “super-organism”.


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