A look at how Stuart Brand’s classic work of social and architectural criticism, How Buildings Learn, applies to web design and development.
First, if you are in any way interested in design, history, or architecture, which I assume you are by your presence here, read the book How Buildings Learn: What happens after they’re built, by Stuart Brand. Building on Jane Jacobs’ classic criticism of city planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Brand looks at what happens to buildings over the fourth dimension: time.
As I began to read How Buildings Learn, the initial concepts tickled me as familiar in a way that great and simple ideas often do. When written clearly, they seem obvious. However, when we look at the world around us, these ideas are clearly not obvious – or if they are obvious, they are ignored. Further in to the book, the basis for this familiarity becomes more obvious. Idea after idea and concept after concept, clear parallels emerge between the architectural issues dealt with in the book, and those issues we deal with every day as web developers.