Against the closed city
The new Dutch suburbs may be designed as safe, clean, efficient, tidy places but they lack all qualities attributable to a city. Different population groups, rich and poor, live isolated from each other. Economic activity and stimulating cultural endeavour are wanting, nor do they possess an urbanism and architecture able to cope with change. And there is nothing at all of a vibrant street life in the shopping centres of these gated communities. Sociologists term this condition a closed city. The segregation of functions, a homogeneous population, techniques of zoning and regulations see to it that everything that doesn't fit in is shut out. A thicket of rules dictates what should or shouldn't happen on the historical, economic, ecological and social fronts. Nothing may offend or provoke, everything must be arranged neatly in rows. Countermanding this closed city of neo-liberalism is the concept of the open city.
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Lessons in Cityness
Wiel Arets Architects' school campus at Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht