[Reader-list] Re: [Urbanstudy] strategy / tactics / cities

Prem Chandavarkar prem.cnt at gmail.com
Thu Apr 20 10:40:34 IST 2006

Dear Chintan,
I am also an architect interested in cities who has been reading de
Certeau.  I have a work in progress (with no forecast as to by when I will
complete it) titled "Is Urban Planning Meant for Cities?".   The notion of
planning or designing a city requires that a coherent model be imposed on
what is a highly complex entity that eludes description.   Some suggested
readings I found very useful (if you have not read them already)

Richard Sennet (ed): Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities - a collection
of the first theoretical writings on cities - Weber, Simmel, Spengler, Park,
Wirth, Redfield.  Many of them (particulary Simmel and Park) focus on the
fact that the essential characteristic of the city is its complexity and the
potential that arises from the fact that conformism cannot be enforced.  I
particulary love Park's statement that the role of cities is "to foreground
the moral range of deviant behavior".

Christopher Alexander: A New Theory of Urban Design - the only study I know
that seeks to arrive at a bottom up methodology for designing cities.

Jane Jacobs: The Life and Death of Great American Cities - while the book
focuses on American cities, her perceptions on what make a city alive are
most useful.

I also give some references below to a couple of essays I wrote, in case you
find them useful:

Urban Space and the Urban Activist

Crafting the Public Realm: Speculations on the Role of Open Source
Methodologies in Development by Design

All the best,
Prem Chandavarkar

On 18/04/06, chintan gohil <chintichinti at yahoo.com> wrote:
> dear all,
> please have a look at my recent posting on my very
> first brand new blog...
> http://urbanexistence.blogspot.com/2006/04/tactical-machines-city.html
> its a work in progress on the ideas of tactics .
> strategies / bottom-up . top-down / power . powerS and
> their manifestation in the (built) environment...it is
> influenced by michel de certeau's ideas on tactics vs.
> strategy (esp in practice of everyday life)...the case
> here is indian city (specifically ahmedabad with its
> urban villages)
> it seems almost random / collection of lots of
> theoretical bits / quotations / questions...but i
> thought it was a good idea to put it on web at this
> stage...
> views / comments / much appreciated
> regards
> c
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