How do they do it? Beauty. Other things being equal, people spend much of their discretionary time in places where it is enough merely to be there to feel pleasure beyond what can normally be felt at home. Building beauty is not rocket science, or unduly expensive. Most societies have, in the modern era, simply decided against it. Places like Providence have destroyed less of their beauty than other places, and built less ugliness in its place. Prague is another such place. Why don’t other places follow its example? There are explanations for this – they are not good ones, in fact they verge on evil, but they do exist – but rather than drag them out here I will simply post this piece of beautiful photos of Prague published by huffingtonpost.com.
That’s my case and I’m sticking to it.
(I trust that all readers understand that I mean amid the broad range of choice in methods available for improving a society, building beautiful rather than ugly is an easy one compared with choices on such matters as improving the schools, improving the environment, improving the environment for business, reducing the crime rate, reducing the income gap, etc. I do not mean that making beauty is “easy.”)
The photo of Prague at the top of this post is from iises.net, web site of the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, which held its annual conference in Prague last September. I visited in 2005 and have my own favorite shot of Prague [which is the inset photo above. The reblog has upset the original post’s arrangement, for which I can only express my regret. The architecture of cities and buildings doesn’t degenerate quite so easily as the architecture of a piece of illustrated bloviation on the internet.]