Call for Papers on New Applications of Christopher Alexander's Work


New Applications and Development of Christopher Alexander’s The Nature of Order

A Special Issue with Urban Science:

The work of the architect Christopher Alexander has proven enormously influential, if sometimes controversial, spanning from his early work on Notes on the Synthesis of Form, through his seminal paper “A City is Not a Tree”, to later books A Pattern Language and A New Theory of Urban Design.

His ideas have found remarkable applications in software engineering, communications, management theory, and many other fields. Among the spinoff innovations are design patterns (also known as “pattern languages of programming”), popular software programs like The Sims, platforms like wiki (and Wikipedia), and new methodologies like Agile, Scrum and others.

Later in his career, Alexander devoted over 27 years to his most ambitious work of all: the four-volume magnum opus, The Nature of Order: An essay on the art of building and the nature of the universe (Alexander 2002–2005). In this far-ranging book, Alexander presents an intriguing account of the fundamental phenomenon of order, the processes of creating order, and even a new cosmology – as he describes it, a deeper conception of how the physical universe is put together. The book argues that order in nature is essentially the same as that in what we build or make, and underlying order- creating processes of building or making of architecture and design are no less important than those of physics and biology. The book presents an argument for a new kind of beauty – structural beauty – that exists in fine structure of space and matter, and subsequently it argues for a new basis of doing architecture for creating more beautiful and more sustainable buildings, gardens, streets and cities.

While the applications of his earlier works are well-documented, the potential applications of his newest work are still unclear. A number of tantalizing indications suggest a promise that may equal or even exceed the benefits of his earlier work. However, there is a need to develop further peer- reviewed research on this question. We invite papers on Alexander’s work and its potential applications and development, with a focus on The Nature of Order but also addressing other aspects of his contributions related to urban science including both understand and making of better built environments. The purpose of this special issue is not only to debate Alexander’s legacy, but also to try to assess previously-unrecognized potential applications of Alexander’s most recent work.

Submissions may include research papers, reviews, or case studies. The editors will curate the selection of submissions, and if appropriate, the selected submissions will follow the subsequent peer review processes.

Keywords: Life, beauty, wholeness, living structure, 15 fundamental properties, wholeness-extending transformation, organic view of space

Deadline: May 30, 2019, but first come, and first reviewed


Editors: Bin Jiang, PhD and Professor at University of Gävle, Sweden; Nikos Salingaros, PhD and Professor at University of Texas at San Antonio, USA

Advisors: Michael Mehaffy, PhD and Executive Director of Sustasis Foundation, Portland, USA; Yodan Rofe, PhD and Senior Lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, Israel

(PDF) CALL FOR PAPERS: New Applications and.... Available from:'s_The_Nature_of_Order [accessed Aug 17 2018].

Maggie Moore