12 March 2010

TWO WORDS

Italy, September 2007 110


craft


|kraft| |krøft| |kr
ɑːft|
noun

1 an activity involving skill in making things by hand : the craft of bookbinding | pewter craft.
• (
crafts) work or objects made by hand : the shop sells local crafts | [as adj. ] ( craft) a craft fair.
• a skilled activity or profession :
the historian's craft.
• skill in carrying out one's work :
a player with plenty of craft.
• skill used in deceiving others :
her cousin was not her equal in guile and evasive craft.
• the members of a skilled profession.

exercise skill in making (something) :
he crafted the chair lovingly | [as adj. ] ( crafted) a beautifully crafted object.



city


|
ˈsitē| |ˌsɪdi| |ˌsɪti|
noun ( pl.
cities)
1 a large town : [as adj. ] the city center.
• an incorporated municipal center.
2 [with modifier ] informal a place or situation characterized by a specified attribute : panic city.
3 ( the City) the financial and commercial district of London, England.

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French
cite, from Latin civitas, from civis ‘citizen.’ Originally denoting a town, and often used as a Latin equivalent to Old English burh [borough,] the term was later applied to foreign and ancient cities and to the more important English boroughs.



Two words dear to my heart.

The cities we inhabit are the centers of our lives and culture. They are the places that we interact in as a civilization; they are where we exchange ideas, where we participate in commerce, and are made whole by the people around us. They are the counterpoint to the natural environment. Indeed, they are a necessary component of a sustainable planet.

We tend to think of cities as a collection of individual pieces of the built environment, governed and arranged by a series of rules and social conventions, imbibed with the proviso that if everyone follows the rules and makes the proper entitlements, a great place and society will result.

Craft is one of the great endeavors of people. It is in the act of craft that people become the most like their Creator.

It is craft that makes truly great cities. It is the kernel of an idea that is inspired by circumstances, by history, and by the excitement of the new. Craft exists in all the things that humans try and accomplish; in city building especially, craft is almost a subversive element to our subscribed rules. For much of we love in the cities around the world, can’t be replicated because it doesn’t conform to code. Greatness exists in cities, because of acts of will in the pursuit of an idea, and idea that can’t be expressed in a formula that is part of a code.

Craft takes place in a thoughtful manner, the product of carefully considering how something is made, what it looks like, how it will last, and in what context it will be used in. Craft can be humorous, filled with joy and color, but it is not conceived in a frivolous way. It may be self-serving, but most often it is an act of generosity. I don’t believe that craft equals art, must it most certainly contains elements of art, added to whatever functional and practical concerns the craft addresses. So it is with making an article of clothing that wears well and flatters the individual that wears it, with preparing a delicious meal that is memorable as well as providing the momentary nutritional needs, and so it is with buildings and the things around them.

I’m looking forward to exploring this way of looking at cities with any of you who care to check in on this site from time to time!

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