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CHARTER FOR RESPONSIBLE
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPERS

ROUGH DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION

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This first draft of a charter for professional developers, arose from two impulses. First, a number of years ago, Andres Duany asked me if I would be willing to draft such a charter, and if so, proposed that he would then take it to a number of influential developers and press for its adoption. At the time, I felt I was not quite ready to undertake this task.

Then, more recently, at the 14th Congress of New Urbanism, a very considerable number of architects, planners, developers and builders, met with me after my address to the congress. Together we decided that we would pursue this concept, probably at a meeting held in London, with the idea that we would then thrash out the details of the articles together.

The version presented below is a very rough draft which I made , virtually on the back of an envelope, and then showed at the Congress. It is only a starting point. Many items, especially the items 9-23, need considerable review and refinement, before they could reasonably be accepted by a wide group of charter members.
                                                                                            Christopher Alexander

A CHARTER
Version 1, June 3 2006. Very rough first draft
The Primary Article of Intent

To Protect and Care for the Beauty of the Living Earth

Secondary Articles of Intent that Express and Manifest this Primary Concern.

  1. Recognize that we are responsible for the Earth.
  2. Pay attention to the beauty of the whole, and always act in service to the whole.
  3. Do no harm.
  4. Base everything on unfolding.
  5. Make this a work of love, not commercial.
  6. Spend as much time as possible on site.
  7. Involve people.
  8. Trust the judgment of others, and believe in them as you believe in yourself.
Tertiary Practical Articles
The Methods and Assumptions which we believe any Developer will need to Subscribe to, in order to act practically on his/her Devotion to the Earth.
  1. Recognize yourself as a fee-based professional.
  2. Replace large loans with pay-as-you-go economics.
  3. Modest returns on investment.
  4. Give back to the community 30% of any windfall profit generated by land speculation.
  5. Give up charettes and adopt more personal ways of talking to people.
  6. Abandon the use of form-based prescriptive rules of geometry.
  7. Professional fee-based Construction Management in lieu of large general contractors.
  8. Diagnosis of the land as the start of every project.
  9. Unfolding as the primary mode - hence cooperation with building and planning to accept this form.
  10. Autonomy of every part at every scale allowed to develop its uniqueness.
  11. Survey from stakes that are judged and placed and agreed by intuition.
  12. Slow speed of construction to accommodate adaptation.
  13. Fixed price construction and flexible moves within the budget.
  14. Modify what is built, during construction.
  15. Establish repair and maintenance programs for annual repair.

THANK YOU
Andres Duany, Carrie Marsh, Buff Chase, Yaroslav Steiner and others who have done so much to propel this project. We hope we shall all very soon be able to meet in London, for our seminar.
                                                                                            Chris and Maggie


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