Beauty and the City

Architects and urbanists gathered in the city Jane Jacobs made her home to ask, "What makes a beautiful city?"

Jacobs' Toronto has a "messy urbanism," said participants, agreeing that the city has an urban vitality but lacks beauty.

William Thorsell, former head of the Royal Ontario Museum, argued that Torontonians "are not only shy about discussing beauty but also of condemning ugliness.":

"He shared an anecdote about the struggle to beautify the ROM's surroundings during its expansion and redesign by architect Daniel Libeskind; after insisting that the representatives of nine city departments responsible for the area join him in a walk around the block to count the various tree stumps, broken sidewalks, telephone booths and poles – 'Is that your pole or my pole?' they joked – the consensus was that no one person was in charge. But bureaucracy is just one part of the problem. 'We're not a city that consistently and passionately values beauty,' he said. 'Beauty doesn't rank here.'"

Thanks to Katia Snukal

Full Story: What makes a beautiful city?

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