Bridges, when nicely designed and proportioned, can be a lovely addition to an urban setting, especially when the bridge crosses a watercourse. Indeed, the addition of water to an urban area almost always greatly increases its attractiveness. People seem to have a strong need to be near water, perhaps because it is essential for life. Whatever the reason, we should strive to bring water into our cities whenever it is practical to do so.

Venice and Amsterdam, perhaps more than any other cities, are associated with water. Both cities bring a network of canals into the urban fabric, and both cities offer countless beautiful vistas that include both urban elements and water. Both cities abound with bridges. Bangkok was also once such a city, but alas it filled in most of its canals during the past 50 years, and I no longer find it an attractive city, despite the many spectacular Buddhist temples that loom over the city.

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