The random character of local densities confuses the identity of our communities, and also creates a chaos in the pattern of land use.


Encourage growth and the accumulation of density to form a clear configuration of peaks and valleys according to the following rules:

  1. Consider the town as a collection of communities of 7,000. These communities will be between 1/4 mile across and 2 miles, according to their overall density.
  2. Mark that point in the boundary of each community which is closest to the nearest major urban center. This point will be the peak of the density, and the core of the “eccentric” nucleus.
  3. Allow the high density to bulge in from the boundary, toward the center of gravity of the community, thus enlarging the eccentric nucleus toward the center.
  4. Continue this high density to form a ridge around the boundary in horseshoe fashion—with the length of the horseshoe dependent on the overall mean gross density, at that part of the city, and the bulge of the horseshoe toward the center of the region, so that the horseshoes form a gradient, according to their position in the region. Those close to a major downtown are almost complete; those further away are only half-complete; and those furthest from centers are shrunken to a point.

… so far, we have established an overall height restriction, with its attendant limitation on average density — Four-Story Limit (21). If we assume also, that the city contains major centers for every 300,000 people, spaced according to the rules in Magic of the City (10), it will follow that the overall density of the city slopes off away from these centers: the high density near to them, the lowest far away. This means that any individual Community of 7000 (12) will have an overall density given by its distance from the nearest downtown. The question then arises: How should density vary locally, within this community; what geometric pattern should the density have? The question is complicated greatly by the principle of Subculture Boundary (13), which requires that communities are surrounded by their services, instead of having their services at their geometric centers. This pattern, and the next, defines a local distribution of density which is compatible with this context.

Given this overall configuration, now calculate the average densities at different distances from this ridge of high density, according to the computations given in the next pattern — Density Rings (29); keep major shopping streets and promenades toward the dense part of the horseshoe — Activity Nodes (30), Promenade (31), Shopping Street (32); and keep quiet areas toward the open part of the horseshoe — Sacred Sites (24), Quiet Backs (59), Still Water (71)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 150medium-confidence