Gentle planning

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Model of the first phase of Celebration, Florida

Manhattan at night

I believe that the idea of the totality, the finality of the masterplan is misguided. One should advocate a gradual transformation of public space, a metamorphic process, without relying on a hypothetical time in the future when everything will be perfect. . . . One should not see cities as pathological entities, as being sick. One should see them as needing care. What is needed, in my view, is a Buddhist or homeopathic approach to city planning comprised of gentle interventions, which are not very dramatic in terms of instant gratification. . . . I have tried to propose an alternative to the whole notion of the masterplan with its implied idea of totality, of finality, and the misguided ambition which I think all plans have, of the eternal recurrence of the same through replication of type and through replication of order. I think we know this is a nihilistic notion. I propose instead a process which reinforces the structure of change in a heterogeneous, pluralistic and diverse architecture. In a democratic society, one should acknowledge that architecture will reflect very different, and sometimes conflicting views of the world. This is an alternative approach to the traditional idea of planning which implies continuity based on projection. It is an approach which treats the city as an evolving poetic and unpredictable structure. Liebeskind 1995, 29
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