Settlement archaeologists take pains to reconstruct, among other things, how past populations used their space. One site may have a plethora of temples, another homogenized dwelling spaces, and yet another central courtyards where tools were made communally. We can learn so much from looking at how we organize ourselves and our activities in space.
There is a beautiful 19th century Anglican church on at the corner of 18th and Cuthbert. The urban context of the church is an architectural essay on the values of modernity. It is dwarfed by a skyscraper across the street. Right next to it, a huge skyscraper is being built and behind it, a foundation dug for yet another. You wouldn’t even see this church from most angles. And, soon, you won’t see it at all unless you go there for it. From a medieval theocracy to a modern corporatocracy…the profane has become the sacred.
When the largest modern urban monuments are towering steel mirrored icons of capitalism, what can we say about our values, our community?