And so, proposed Machiavelli, the secret to being effective lies in overcoming all vestiges of this story. The Prince was not, as is often thought, a guide to being a tyrant; it’s a guide about what nice people should learn from tyrants. It’s a book about how to be effective, not just good. It’s a book haunted by examples of the impotence of the pure.
Cities are a big deal. We pretty much all have to live in them. We should try hard to get them right. So few cities are nice, very few out of many thousands are really beautiful; embarrassingly the more appealing ones tend to be old, which is weird because we’re mostly much better at making things now.
For a related articles and short films by The School of Life on Ugliness and the Housing Crisis click here and on Relativism and Urban Planning click here.