How Buildings Learn: Chapter 6 - Unreal Estate

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand is a really great read about the underlying processes that govern the evolution of buildings over time.

Rushing is at the root of all lack of quality.

Form follows failure.

City lots...(as in parking lots). Their size is enormously influential. Small lots make for constant fine-grain adaptation instead of the sudden devastating changes that can come with large parcels. Everything depends on the pattern of ownership of the land.

American planners always take their inspiration from Europe's great cities and such urban wonders as the Piazza San Marco in Venice, but they study the look, never the process. .... Venice is a monument to a dynamic process. Not to great urban planning.

As usual, the rate of change is everything.

Chris Alexander agrees: The money is all wrong in most buildings, and it's crucial. There should be more in basic structure, less in finish, more in maintenance and adaptation.

Work done in haste is necessarily shoddy, a house of cards. On a go-fast schedule there is no margin for a single error, and error is inevitable. High risk, high loss. The opposite strategy is much surer, because the errors are piecemeal and correctable. When you proceed deliberately mistakes don't cascade, they instruct. Low risk plus time equals high gain.