I spent the early morning hours today wondering what I could do to make cities more beautiful. Then I got up, went to my computer, and found this marvelous video of 14 minutes, “How to Make an Attractive City,” made, or at least narrated, by someone with a nice British accent. The graphics are simple and enchanting, but it is the basic good common sense about cities and what makes them beautiful (or not) that took my breath away.
The video seems to be from something called The School of Life, which you can click on and subscribe to, and which claims to have 163 videos – not just about building better cities, it seems, but living better lives. And I gather the video was created by Alain de Botton, who is far from a traditionalist. His book The Architecture of Happiness had me up and down on a roller coaster. He is facile. He is a TV presenter. But here, he is right.
Some comments at the end suggest that the video is authoritarian. No, it is not. It urges people to take back their cities from the authoritarians who have imposed ugly ones on us, making it near impossible to create pretty ones that we can enjoy living in. One person complains that in the city proposed here, he will have no privacy because the living spaces are denser. Has he never heard of curtains? The city proposed here offers maximum choice, not a bland one-size-fits-all existence. It is brilliant – and obvious.
Enjoy! And hats off to Ann Daigle for sending the video to TradArch.