How Buildings Learn and Can They Teach Developers

by Royd Brayshay on February 2, 2010

Can buildings teach us anything about software development? They’ve been around a lot longer, they come in every shape and size, and some last longer than others. All traits shared by software. Stuart Brand wrote a book and TV series called “How Building Learn”. Whatever you think of his observations they make excellent viewing for any student of design. Software or otherwise.

The six part series, screened by the BBC in 1998, documents Brands basic thesis – successful buildings that survive over time are built for change. Christopher Alexander, the inspiration behind the modern-day Software Design Patterns movement, features in several episodes expressing his unconventional views and approach to architecture.

Stuart Brand seems to have time on his mind a lot; he is a founder of the Long Now Foundation and a past TED speaker on the subject.

Drawing analogies between civil engineering and software development is popular; but should be treated with caution. Its natural and fun however. I’ll make subsequent posts about the other five episodes. Enjoy.

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