I very much enjoyed reading 'The social fabric in cities' written by Vinicius M.Netto in my copy of Area Development and Policy that arrived this morn. Also, there is a nice video on 'Architecture and the ballet of the street' concepted by the same author. It is definately worth a read.
Urban areas are the result of learning, interaction and innovation between individuals and firms. But, in terms of centuries, the urban form is relatively recent. As this spontaneous order collides with institutional planners - what effect will planning interventions have on the outcomes for society? We can visibly identify from our own individual travels that cities are similar in shape and order but equally, as they are similar, they are also considerably different from place to place. If in return the urban form plays a major role in the quantity and quality of interactions and innovations - then the stakes are very high indeed for local planners to get it right!