Streets with Closed View

I doubt that any of Christopher Alexander's patterns is more important those that relate to the creation of "positive outdoor space," that is, outdoor areas that have a sense of enclosure. These spaces seem to feel much more comfortable and interesting than spaces that bleed off to infinity. It may be that not everyone shares this feeling, and some may find enclosed spaces somehow threatening, but it appears that the large majority of people prefer enclosed spaces.

The scale of the enclosed space can vary widely, from a small interior courtyard to a huge plaza surrounded by big buildings. Different people may find different scales more attractive, which is one reason that we should try to introduce variation into the design of our cities, so that everyone can find a place that feels just right.

We will be concerned in this chapter with streets that develop a sense of enclosure. The matter of courtyards and squares is taken up elsewhere.

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