i have an illness brought on by ugly cities , the ill effects go into remission when i am in nature and i can not see anything that man nor woman have built. the symptoms are depression caused by viewing banal solutions that are visually torturing and jarring my psychic.

i am curious whether other people suffer from the same disease or whether this is a personal thing that only i suffer from?

there are a few cities and parts of cities that i can feel comfortable in, like venice italy, italian hill towns, barcelona, and mykonos greece etc., but otherwise i am burdened by what i see. sure there are buildings i can relate to like gothic cathedrals, sydney opera house, saarinen twa air terminal in new york, kenzo tange stadiums and numerous other points of destination, but monument buildings are not what i am talking about. i am talking about the city and all the visual night mares they trigger in me. I envision what could be. i spending a major part of my professional career conveying the possibilities to the society.

people escape to nature to have vacations and times of reflection, but is this just an escape healing valve that allows them to return to the city and be happy? or do they suffer from the city being ugly as i do, but are not aware of the negative effect it has on them? parks are the relief patches in cities, but are contrived and orchestrated, keep your dog on a leash, pick up feces with a plastic bag over your hand. be on guard if someone is stalking you, watch out for the bicycles or handicap vehicles, step over the homeless. do not play ball, nor pick flowers, don’t climb the trees. play in primary rigid colored plastic cubes removed from grass or dirt, the sins of nature.

bombardment of signs, styles, and lights. sounds of honking, sirens, skidding, barking, swearing, constructions, and trash being collected.

oh yes, let’s live in a penthouse and have a ten foot x ten foot potted garden. the view fantastic of the ugly roof tops with junk everywhere. oh, how wonderful and protected by the doorman.

everything so convenient to walk to. the convenience stores charging ridiculous prices and the mass transit so cozy with all types listening to the locos spouting religion dribble or just babbling. the compactness of bodies stealing wallets , groping and venting. my daughter, lucia small film maker, living in new york and losing recently two of her closest friends from a brutal stabbing and a run away theft out of control in a vehicle.

almost a third of the movies are filmed in new york city with bumper to bumper traffic and people darting across through it with mixed results of being hit or not hit or ending up on a hood of a vehicle. a cliché with the stretch limousine pulling up to glass front high rise, dropping off the successful tailored suit dapper mogul , that gets the girl or guy or both. the honking and racket, like a clash and bang music score that brings tears to ones eyes of recall of joys and sorrows. oh, that rush of activity, good, bad and indifferent.

fifty percent of the world population live in a cities. usa 87 percent, as of 2010, living urban, probably 90 percent of people in the usa live in challenging environments that make me ill. which confirms the lack of sensitivity to visual ugliness. but they have enough sense to vacation in nature or las vegas. which is the ultimate crass spot in the usa. live plants at eye level and plastic ones above. talk about “learning from las vegas.” it sucks, but is loved, and it is a city. all so corny , superficial and shallow. just what the american public applaud.

one might ask, show me what you mean ? see blogs : downtown troposphere, turf town revisited , jungle theater 1984, biomorphic biosphere, vertical city. and the great stadium issue, home of fun.





NEW YORK CITY GRID LOCK Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




    • matt,
      you know better, you are discriminating about what is beautiful and what is not. a sensitive soul about what looks correct and not.

      i hope you have given up on darting your motorcycle through all the ugly traffic. Macho man.

      come visit me in joshua tree, where i will show you some ugly things.

      stay close my friend,


  1. This is an interesting and complex issue. I think there is a sense of beauty in everything – perhaps it’s a religious view or an expression of optimism as in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ idea of “inscape”. We can choose to find the beautiful aspects of everything.

    But it’s also true at a basic level that if everything is beautiful then the word has no meaning as a discriminator. There are things that we respond to and that nurture and elevate our sensibilities – these in my view are beautiful. There are things and places and experiences that reduce us – these I think are ugly. They are the things that frustrate and depress and disappoint.

    There is clearly no objective standard of beauty – some find the urban environment beautiful, some don’t. Personally I find classical music more beautiful than pop (generally). As designers we are trained to find and express beauty – isn’t taste an expression of our ability to discriminate between the more and the less beautiful? It’s not all about function and program and narrative.

    • tim,

      you are letting everybody choose, i do not think people have the equipment to choose. left alone they create thier own worlds of junk most of the time.

      in the past there were restraints with material, weather, etc. that made for a harmonius whole. it took a concerted effort to produce a gothic catheral. maybe for a lot of the wrong reasons, but the end result was beauty that most everybody are able to comprhend.


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