Incompleteness in Pictures

Just back from Lileks-ville (TG’s stepson’s wedding in St. Paul, Minnesota); no wi-fi at the Starbucks (and a schedule too full of celebration to spend time in front of the laptop). Interesting people there; different from the folks in Ellay. There’s a blog post in it somewhere.

I’ve been browsing the blogs as I try and take my “Why Are You a Democrat” post and extend it to respond to some of the smarter replies.

And as I went over to Michael J. Totten’s site, and found a GREAT photo essay on modernism which absolutely takes my comments on ‘incompleteness‘ and scale and puts them out in a way that can be easily seen.

You’ve gotta check it out.

8 thoughts on “Incompleteness in Pictures”

  1. It is a great photo essay, and someone should tell Reid Stott. I’ve been a fan of “New Urbanism” for a few years now, and Michael Totten’s essay makes a real contribution by showing people instead of just writing about it.

    As I’m surprised you failed to point out, the reason for the improvements is an interventionist local government, who changed its codes and planning philosophy and now watches its city reaps the benefits… 100% slum clearance isn’t shabby.

    Is there a clash between this approach and conservative political philosophy? I’m not sure there is. Government does have proper functions, and there’s a solid argument that places the strategy for a city’s growth and development squarely within a government’s core competence. The method chosen lets government regulate, then has the private sector build and develop on its own to create the results.

    This kind of “New Urbanist” thinking ought to become an important centerpiece of debate and policy for conservative urban policy. If it does, I suspect the result will be a lot of common ground with centrist liberals. Since nothing less than that kind of consensus is required in order to fix the mistakes American (and Canadian) cities have made, the sooner we start the better.

  2. Joe:

    Agreed, but I think the implications are broader; not only does this model hold for urban planning, but I think that it can be a conceptual template for other kinds of policy.


  3. Never mind, AL – just read your reply to my comments in your other thread. Do you think CA’s way of approaching building design works and is practical to teach builders and architects? It seems to address the issue of continuous improvement by creating small reusable chunks which can be combined with each other, which is why OOP developers like it so much.

    Which brings up how this “continuous and small reusable chunks process” has gradually replaced “the grand vision” in software development also. Which has in turn influenced how competitive organizations are organized and led. Which probably in turn influenced how the US Armed Forces are organized.

  4. I forgot to mention Jane Jacobs. She’s the theory – Christopher Alexander is the practice.

    Joe, did you ever read Art Klein’s The Age of Heretics? That reminds me that a lot of my worldview comes from a 20 year subscription to Whole Earth Review, way back to when it was Co-Evolution Quarterly. It’s really declined in the last few years – turned into a run of the mill environmentalist mag. A shame.

    I am very clear that Stewart Brand is one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Hippies, environmentalists, international corporations, cybergeeks . . . the guy has touched everyone who’s mattered for the past 35 years.

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