Introduction

Practitioners and supporters of the arts today are working to recover the knowledge and formal languages in all disciplines that underlie the great works of the past, extending this knowledge in response to the conditions of our own time and place. In architecture and urban design, this recovery effort seems to have begun earlier than in other artistic disciplines, perhaps because while we can choose to disregard painting, sculpture, music, drama or poetry that we don’t like, we must live on a daily basis with the consequences of experimental or revolutionary classicist architecture and urban planning theories. Over the last several decades a new generation of architects, urban planners, landscape architects and allied artists has begun re-establishing traditional premises and tools to promote the creation of a new, more satisfying environment. Sustainability, in both a cultural and an ecological sense, is a central concern of many architects and urbanists dedicated to changing the patterns which have dominated the growth and development of the build environment for the past half-century. As a consequence, we are seeing new designs for cities and neighborhoods scaled to the pedestrian rather than to the automobile, and new buildings designed to satisfy the innate human need for harmony, proportion and comfort in the settings of daily life.