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Building Living Neighborhoods

A pattern language based on observations of towns, buildings and communities describing a problem and the solutions invented by previous generations. A tool for architects, urban planners and ordinary people to redesign living neighborhoods.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
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Building Living Neighborhoods:"wherever you are in the world, if you intent on planning and building a thriving neighborhood this website is for you".
This website presents an action plan and practices grounded on "a generative code of neighborhood".
It is based on the work of the architect Christopher Alexander on pattern language
In his book (co-authored in 1977 with Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein), Alexander presents his observations on architecture, urban design and commuity livability and develop 253 patterns, which put together form a language.

"At the core... is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets and communities. This idea... comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people".
—Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language,

The audience of this book is not only architects and urban planners, but also the everyday people who want to work with their neighbors to improve their neighborhood, a town, a house, an office or a public building.

Here are two examples of patterns:

Pattern no 180. Window place: "everybody loves window seats, bay windows, and big windows with low sills and comfortable chairs drawn up to them". Therefore: "In every room where you spend any length of time during the day, make at least one window into a 'window place'".

Pattern no 18. Networks of learning: "In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students-and adults- become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching". Therefore: "instead of lock-step of compulsary schooling in a fixed flace, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city: workshops, teachers at home or walking through the city".



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Photo of Anthony

The generative code is very useful in understanding the overall process involved in developing a neighborhood.

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