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The Quality

 

There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.

…The fact is that the difference between a good building and a bad building, between a good town and a bad town, is an objective manner. It is the difference between health and sickness, wholeness and dividedness, self-maintenance and self-destruction In a world which is healthy, whole alive, and self-maintaining, people themselves can be alive and self-creating. In a world which is unwhole and self-destroying, people cannot be alive: they will inevitable be self-destroying, and miserable.

…This oneness, or the lack of it, is the fundamental quality for any thing. Whether it is in a poem, or a man, or in a building full of people, or in a forest, or a city, everything that matters stems from it. It embodies everything.

– Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building, Chapter 8

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