Handout (PDF): A matrix of the three models, and the sacred geometry traced by Meenakshi and Sudareswarar's wanderings at the end of a one-year cycle in the mandala of Madurai in Southern India.
Following Lynch, three theories which specify ways of building "good" cities and their continued relevance for contemporary cities, are examined. The matrix in the handout covers their essential qualities.
In the cosmic model, the assertion is that the form of a permanent settlement should be a magical model of the universe and its gods. Such a crystalline city has all of its parts fused into a perfectly ordered whole and change is allowed to happen only in a rhythmically controlled manner. To achieve such form, specific phenomena are included, such as returning, natural items, celestial measurement, fixing location, centeredness, boundary definition, earth images, land geometry, directionality, place consciousness, and numerology. These are acknowledged in creating the city's form by devising methods for finding a good site, making boundaries, subdividing land, determining a center, connecting to celestial forms, fixing coordinates, controlling change, determining social structure, codifying rules, coordinating physics and metaphysics, and reinforcing form through ritual.
The debates about the origin of cities: the spiritual significance in city genesis, argued by Adams, Rykwert, and Mumford, for example, versus the materialist arguments, such as those of Childe, Sjoberg and Jacobs, are discussed in the light of the cosmic model. Examples of the cosmic model are examined in the cases of Roman and Middle Eastern cities (Jerusalem and Babylon) and in cities in China (from the Han to Ming dynasties), India (the significance of the texts on habitation, the mandala form, Jaipur and Madurai), and in Mesoamerica (Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan and the Mayan cities).
Adams. "The Natural History of Urbanism."
Beinart. "Image Construction in Premodern Cities."
Eliade. The Myth of the Eternal Return. Chapter 1.
Jacobs. The Economy of Cities. Chapter 1.
Pennick. The Ancient Science of Geomancy. Chapters I and II.
Rykwert. The Idea of a Town. Chapter 5 and Conclusion.
Wright. The Cosmology of the Chinese City.