After the exodus, those left behind get to stretch out.
In any urban area, no matter how dense, keep the majority of buildings four stories high or less. It is possible that certain buildings should exceed this limit, but they should never be buildings for human habitation.
You may think it’s crazy, but Alexander’s reasoning is just the opposite, being that living high up makes us crazy:
The higher people live off the ground, the more likely are they to suffer mental illness.
Alexander believes this is because living high up creates such a barrier from the world and interactions. If you live high up, it requires more effort and you need a task in order to leave your building. Living high up isolates you. And children:
Only 2% of the children aged two to three years in the high point blocks play on their own out of doors, while 27% of the children in the low blocks do this. Among the children aged five years in the high point blocks 29% do not as yet play on their own out of doors, while in the low blocks all the children aged five do so.
It reminds me of socializing dogs when they are puppies. Typically, city dogs are pretty chill, because they’ve grown up sniffing other butts all the time. A suburban or rural dog, however, is much more likely to protect their property from other dogs. So, in human terms, you raise this kid with significantly less interaction with other kids, and of course it’s going to grow up with less social ability. And perhaps stick to staring at its smart phone all the time. Even when it shouldn’t. Even when it should be sniffing other butts.
The main takeaways:
- Interlock city and farmland, with city never being more than a mile wide, and farmland being at least a mile wide.
- While the farmland can be cultivated, it should remain free for anyone to respectfully enjoy and wander.
- The limit of a mile of city ensures that everyone is within a 10 minute walk of country.
Imagine it! Is there anyplace in the world that has this? I’m guessing towns in Europe, perhaps where the mountains have limited construction. Otherwise, urban places are packed tight — giving the feeling of being pushed into the ocean in New York City.
This book is filled with awesome ideas and facts, like a chart plotting “nuisance distances,” that is where a trip becomes a nuisance depending on how far away something is and how frequent the trip is. Apparently, if something is greater than 50 feet away and you have to make the trip twice an hour, it’s right on the border of being a nuisance. I’ll highlight more of these ideas in coming posts.