The Space of Argumentation: Urban Design, Civic Discourse, and the Dream of the Good City [Book Review]

Argumentation 12 (2):147-166 (1998)
In this paper, I explore connections between two disciplines not typically linked: argumentation theory and urban design. I first trace historical ties between the art of reasoned discourse and the idea of civic virtue. I next analyze discourse norms implicit in three theories of urban design: Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (1977), and Peter Katz's The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community (1994). I then propose a set of ‘settlement’ issues of potential interest to both urban designers and argumentation theorists: size, density, heterogeneity, publicity, security, and identity. I conclude by suggesting that the ‘good city’ be seen as both a spatial and a discursive entity. From such a perspective, good public discourse is dependent, at least in part, on good public space; and good public space is defined, at least in part, as a context conducive to good public discourse
Keywords argumentation  rhetoric  urban design  civil discourse  city  public space
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