Visual Order and Working Order

From Two Cheers for Anarchism:

Like the city official peering down at the architect’s proposed model of a new development site, we are all prone to the error of equating visual order with working order and visual complexity with disorder. It is a natural and, I believe, grave mistake, and one strongly associated with modernism.

A few pages before the text quoted above, the author discusses planned communities that might be attractive from Superman’s perspective flying over the city but that the people on the ground find unlivable.

I thought about failed software projects with beautiful architecture diagrams and successful software projects with ugly architectural diagrams, or even no architectural diagrams. Visual order and working order may go together, but often they do not.

One thought on “Visual Order and Working Order

  1. I grabbed the sample chapter from Amazon after reading your quote, and I am not planning on buying the book… part of it is that it is a tad expensive for my taste… but more importantly, I am not sure that I would agree with the author.

    He seems to think that the American government helped make the American blacks free. I have a totally different reading of history. It seems to me that the American governments were eventually compelled to side with the blacks, but only after oppressing them for a long time, and only after the blacks had risen up. If you wait until someone revolts against you to help, you get no credit.

    And how well have the blacks done under the American governments? How free are they? Prison statistics show that the State is still very much working against the blacks.

    A better example of the State protecting freedom is the work the State does to prevent murder… or to protect kids…

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