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Town and Square from the Agora to the Village Green

By Paul Zucker

By
1340 Rakesh Zinzala
1313 Ravi Ghelani
Excerpt

Heretofore there have been many excellent books about the various
aspects of city planning, past and present, but they have been written
essentially from the viewpoint of the architect, of the man who imagines
and thinks primarily in terms of the three-dimensional mass,
of volume. Space as a three-dimensional void has been considered rather
as a by-product, although more and more attention has been given to this
matter during the last decades. This book takes as its starting point a
concept different from the usual position. It tries to develop the history
and aesthetics of the artistically shaped void, which finds its most
outspoken and characteristic form in the square, in the plaza, the focal
point in the organization of the town.
Although a comprehensive survey is aimed at, completeness is of course
unobtainable. The problem is to combine broadness of scope with
contextural depth. Actually such a comprehensive evaluation should be
undertaken only when detailed research in all individual locations and
epochs has been carried through and clarified. However, since progress
in research goes on indefinitely and future scholars may find source
material yet unknown, the author believes that the basic aesthetic
categories must first be established and succinctly defined; later,
detailed special studies may follow.
Some paragraphs in this book concern areas outside the development of
Western civilization. In dealing with this material the author has been fully
aware of his limited knowledge in these fields, but, on the other hand, he
felt the necessity of touching on these areas in order to round out the
complete picture. However, as Lao-tse said, "Those who justify themselves
do not convince."
An author is expected to express his gratitude to all those who have
contributed to whatever extent through their advice, especially in a work
of this kind which covers such a broad field and which needed so much
time for . . .