Architecture and Philosophy of the City

In Sharon M. Meagher, Samantha Noll & Joseph S. Biehl (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of the City. New York, NY, USA: pp. 131-142 (2019)
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The philosophy of architecture illuminates the nature of architectural objects, properties, and types—and the sorts of things they are; how we know about and judge architectural objects; and ethical and political considerations of architectural objects and practice. As intersects with the philosophy of the city, one set of questions focuses on (a) how the design process for built structures, and structures designed, relate to specifically urban contexts; (b) how our experience of built structures relates to urban contexts; and (c) how urban contexts relate to their constituent built structures—temporally, process-wise, structurally, behaviorally, and so on. The task, in sum, is to identify what built structures and their urban environments contribute to one another. One promising thesis in this regard is compositionalism, that cities are composed of built structures, and dependent for their character on the character of those structures. A further set of philosophical questions, also at the nexus of matters architectural and urban, focus on such political and ethical issues as the nature of rights and obligations for architectural design in urban milieu and the rights of those who dwell in cities to architectural value, whether aesthetic or practical. Thus, architecture shapes the urban fabric, one piece at a time and—in the opposite direction—cities shape architecture through building code.



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Saul Fisher
Mercy University

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