Interesting video by Alain de Botton and the School of Life about how we think of beauty in cities, and how we can control the way cities develop, so that they will be both attractive and reflect our values. I don't agree on all that's said, but do think he's right in saying, that

  1. Much of the beauty felt in cities can be seen as objective qualities and choices made in the planning phase can help promote those qualities.
  2. Life needs to be seen in cities, meaning, that there has to be well designed public spaces where people want to spend time, and, the life inside buildings has to be organized in such a way that at least a part of it can be seen from the outside. These enrich the experience of public space, reminding us of each others presence. 

This video introduced me to the School of Life, a project by De Botton and others to create a university of sorts that applies the teachings of history, philosophy and the arts to answer questions relevant to our lives today. Using our cultural history to tackle real life problems, rather that studying it from a purely theoretical point of view seems to me a very ambitious and valuable standpoint, and one that de Botton has made also in his books. See more of their videos here, or learn about the School of Life here.

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