san francisco european city

February 16th, 2004 § 0 comments

one of the seminars i’m attending this term is called the modern city. the following is an idea trajectory i shared with the class last week, and now i share with you.

for practical reasons in the distant past, walls were built around cities. these walls also acted as areal contraints on the growth of the urban center. technical limitations prevented vertical growth. expansion was a prolem solved by creativity and increased complexity and “fractalness” within the limited area (as opposed to an urban sprawl.) the result is what is today a feast for the eyes.

having spent the past weekend in san francisco, in constrast to the last half year in europe, i realized just how european san francisco feels. keeping the last thought in mind, it is possible to formulate a hypothesis. while san francisco is not surrounded by walls, on three sides it is surrounded by water. vertical expansion is capped by earthquakes. these are the necessary conditions for increased complexity, and that is exactly what you get.

of course, we can theorize about san francisco without end; this is merely one observation.

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