Christopher Alexander

The cover of the book "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander is shown next to a page from the booking--the latter shows "stair case steps."

Why Christopher Alexander Still Matters

The author of "A Pattern Language" and "Notes on the Synthesis of Form" had an outsize influence far beyond architecture and urbanism—and still does.

March 22, 2022 - Michael W. Mehaffy

Paris Street

Christopher Alexander, Influential Author of "A Pattern Language," Passes Away at 85

Christopher Alexander died on March 17, leaving behind a towering legacy of influence on the fields of architecture, planning, and urban design.

March 20, 2022 - CNU Public Square

Urban Symmetry

The Surprisingly Important Role of Symmetry in Healthy Places

New research suggests there might be a "symmetry deficit disorder" in today's built environments, with significant impacts on health, well-being, and even sustainability.

March 8, 2021 - Michael Mehaffy

Paris Street

Is it Time to Revive the Pattern Language?

Software and other fields have made brilliant progress with the pattern language methodology, while built environment fields lag badly, mired in parochial debates over the massive book that invented the methodology.

April 21, 2020 - Michael Mehaffy

Greenwich Village

The Lessons Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander Still Have to Teach

Robert Steuteville reviews Cities Alive, by Michael Mehaffy, describing the newly released book as "an important analysis for urbanism."

November 21, 2017 - Public Square: A CNU Journal

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.

September 8, 2011 - Metropolis Magazine

Making Sense of Neighborhood Structure

Planner Sam Gennawey details a public participation exercise he regularly uses, taken from the ideas of Christopher Alexander, that makes complex ideas simple for public understanding.

August 16, 2010 - Sam Gennawey

Supermodel Sirens on "Sanctuary" Island

Is there an ideal model for a city's circulation, a "supermodel"? Fanis Grammenos reviews a new paper that proposes the use of organic forms first recognized by Christopher Alexander.

August 9, 2010 - Fanis Grammenos

The Man Behind the Pattern Language

Witold Rybczynski profiles Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language, one of the most influential books in urban planning. Alexander recently won the Vincent Scully prize from the National Building Museum.

December 3, 2009 - Slate

Urban Emergence

The concept of 'emergence', in science refers to the way complex systems and patterns arise among groups without planned organization. Emergence is now being applied in interesting ways to study urban areas that evolved spontaneously.

March 24, 2009 - Emergent Urbanism

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.