A Fragment of the Generative Code for Neighborhoods
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At any given moment, in any part of the world, there is a deep wholeness which exists there. This is the structure of the whole: the largest and deepest physical configuration that is present there. It can be felt and seen.

The most fundamental rule, to be followed always, is that we must do our best to leave this structure intact. This does not mean we must do nothing there. It means that we should honor and respect the structure that exists, and try to preserve this deep physical configuration in whatever new things we do. The new should always grow out of respect for what is there now, and what was there before. We must act out of the knowledge that if we violate the deep structure, we will not only violate the place. We will, at a profound level, also damage our own feelings and our own sensibilities.

It is this wholeness - the basic structure of the place - that matters most. In the monastery of Thyangboche, on the lower slopes of Everest, (shown above) the angles are chosen to reflect the angles of the mountains; the overhanging roofs enter into the wholeness which is there; the blood red walls, for some reason that is not entirely clear, support the wholeness; the walls are made of rocks which come from that place. The white stripe on the building wall reflects the snow; the snow lying on the shallow roofs stays there, and makes a blanket just as the snow does on the mountain's hanging slopes. That monastery became part of Everest, and it continues the wholeness and the structure of the mountains which surround it.

Equally, in a village, a corner store with two tables on the sidewalk, the whole of which forms the corner, also, in turn, forms a larger center in the neighborhood. Both small and large details about the place make it so. This is an example of something to be preserved, protected, and extended. You cannot extend it simply by making it larger - only by honoring it and respecting the existence of a center there. This means making sure that the larger structure that ripples out from the two tables on the sidewalk is extended and strengthened by whatever other things are built in the nearby areas.

The unfoldings on this website guide you in the process of envisioning, diagnosing, planning and building on your physical site, always with the purpose of extending wholeness -- the basis of every living neighborhood.


  • Make a mental effort to become aware, emotionally, of the deep structure which is there.
  • It may help to close your eyes and bring it to your mind.
  • Do not play with words. When it comes to judging this deep structure, do not be intellectually over-critical. Remain true to the feelings you carry inside of you about the place. Draw the structure that you see in your mind's eye.
  • When you draw the structure, make a bold drawing, perhaps even with a piece of charcoal or blunt crayon, on a rough piece of paper -- so that the entire action encourages you to represent the physical structure you feel to be there, rather than an intellectual construct.

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