Fragment of the Generative Code for Neighborhoods
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Using one rule, again and again, to create a highly complex system of positive space over time

There is a slightly simplified way of getting positive space. It is not as subtle as the previous one (positive space), but it is so elegant and so simple, and also so powerful, that it teaches one a lot, and has the power to get beautiful places to exist in the world.

You will find the basic rules below are simply these:

  • Look for a latent center.
  • Strengthen this latent center by some modification that makes it stronger as a center.
  • Start again, on another latent center that has appeared.
  • Keep on applying these three rules, one after the other.

    That is all.

    You may see the impact of these two rules, in action, in this interactive slide-show of the thousand-year long period while the Venetians built St. Marks's Square.

    Click here, and follow the instructions. As you mouse-over the pink and blue tablets on the left of the screeen, you will see what happens. You can keep going backward and forward, until you understand it. Click an interactive movie showing St. Mark's Square unfolding over the period from 560 AD to about 1600 AD.

    You will see the beauty of the place, and the positive space emerging as you go.


  • Find the most important latent center -- a part of space which is now weak, but where you can sense that if repaired and strengthened, it will do the most good to the whole.
  • Place boundaries, or parts of boundaries, or new center, to reshape and better define that part of space.
  • Re-apply these two instructions and actions, again and again, applying them to the product generated by the previous applications of the rules.
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