Cities as Symphonies: an Excerpt From Claude Lévi-Strauss

The analogies for cities are endless: the idea of the concrete jungle a place for human betterment, settlement, advancement, and a place that holds form to the thoughts and imaginings of our forefathers continues to fascinate us. While reading Anne Whiston Spirn’s 1984 The Granite Garden, I stumbled across this excerpt from the philosopher, anthropologist and structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss.

“The city may even be rated higher since it stands at the point where nature and artifice meet. A city is a congestion of animals whose biological history is enclosed within its boundaries, and yet every conscious and rational act on the part of these creates helps to shape the city’s eventual character. By its form as by the manner of its birth, the city has elements at once of biological procreation, organiz evolutions, and esthetic creation. It is both a natural object and a thing to be cultivated; indivudual and group; something lived and something dreamed. It is the human invention par excellence.

Claude Lévi-StraussTristes Tropiques, rediscovered during the prologue of Anne Whiston Spirn’s The Granite Garden (1984).

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