The Unexpected Influence of Christopher Alexander

Known for A Pattern Language, his landmark book on architecture and urban design, Christopher Alexander's ideas have had an effect on everything from software and iPhone apps to business management and ecology.

Michael Mehaffy says that Alexander had an early and seminal influence on software development:

"[Alexander] was always concerned with the processes by which parts transform into wholes. He wants to know how we are implementing this part-whole synthesis; how nature does it; and especially, where we, in our own human version, might be getting it wrong. This core interest was what occupied his work documented in Notes on the Synthesis of Form. As it happens, an earlier generation of computer programmers, organization theorists, design theorists and many others, were struggling then to figure out how to generate and manage the large new design structures of that era - computer software being one prominent example. Alexander gave them some very helpful conceptual tools to do that."

Mehaffy continues with many other examples of Alexander's extensive influence.

Full Story: The Radical Technology of Christopher Alexander


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95

Get the "Green Bible" of educational planning books

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.