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In the 1960s, Alexander and his peers at the University of California, Berkeley, went around the world, trying to see why there were places and buildings that were very nice to be in (Venice, on the left), and those that weren't (Detroit, on the right).

They extracted common features from various traditional architectures (European, Asian, African, American). All of those architectures had dwelling spaces, communal areas, private rooms, courtyards... what was common to them and what was independent, due to bulding materials, climate, and such?