Author: Bruce Long

Aesthetics, Nature, Space, and Greenspace

– Bruce Long Most of us – especially the Catholics and High Anglicans among us – are aware that Medieval Cathedrals were often constructed with  flying buttresses. These external arch like props or supports had two functions. One function was practical, and yet had an ultimately aesthetic purpose. The other function was religio-aesthetic. The aesthetic of Cathedrals was and is very much motivated by spiritual considerations. The idea of space inside a place dedicated to the worship of deities visualised as very large was important to the overseers and worshipers alike. As a result, much was invested in maximising the high...

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Urban Planning Constructivism: The Constructivist State of the Art

– Bruce Long In an earlier article I discussed links between planning constructivism and positivism, and philosophical core concepts and disciplines like pragmatism. In another article I discussed the application of the language and concepts of the traditional philosophical disciplines of ontology (metaphysics) and epistemology to the field of information science – specifically the semantic Web, big data, and simulation theory – and the deployment of those tools by planners doing modeling for planning. In that article I mentioned that positivist and constructivist considerations were converging somewhat because of the reliance of both approaches on different kinds of large...

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Harmony in Constructed Social Spaces, and a Metropolitan Internet Cafe Denizen

– Bruce Long What does urban and city planning have to do with Foucault’s conception and discussion of the panopticon, Aristotelian virtue ethics, and Plato’s conception of harmony as conducive to the existence of a just city?Let’s start with the (philosophically expressed) end in mind: happiness (psychological and subjective). Following a hybrid constructivist and positivist conception of what makes for a psychologically and physically healthy living space, contemporary psychology (hopefully part of the 50% of it that is scientifically falsifiable) has identified a number of features that are critically important to psychological health in urban spaces: Greenspace: Trees and natural aesthetics...

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China’s Positivist-Functionalist Planning Philosophy: From Class Segregation to Harmony and Function

-Bruce Long China is the most populous country in the world and, consequently,  has the largest planning tasks involving urban-rural development, combined with an acute need for natural resource optimisation. So the direction its planners are taking is that which will affect the largest urban populations on Earth, and therefore the philosophy of their approach(es) is critically important to the philosophy of planning in general. China also has one of the largest arable land areas and some of the most rugged mountain terrain on the planet – some of which is home to sizable settlements. In this brief article...

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