A City Is Not a Tree

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A City Is Not a Tree
AuthorChristopher Alexander
SeriesCenter for Environmental Structure
PublisherSustasis Foundation
Publication date
Preceded byThe Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth 

A City Is Not a Tree is a widely cited [1] 1965 essay (later published as a book) by the architect and design theorist Christopher Alexander, first published in the journal Architectural Forum, and re-published many times since.[2] In 2015 the essay was published as a book including new exegesis commentaries on the original essay from other architects, engineers and physicists.[3] A City is Not a Tree has been widely described as a landmark text, and the Resource for Urban Design Information calls it "one of the classic references in the literature of the built environment and related fields".[4] In 2016 a 50th Anniversary edition was published by Sustasis Press/Off the Common Books.[5]

Its core contention is that urban planners tend to design cities as tree diagrams (with each node only having a relationship with a parent node), while successful unplanned cities have a semi-lattice structure (where each node has relationships with many nodes).


  1. ^ "Google Scholar". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  2. ^ Alexander, C. (1965) A City is Not a Tree. Architectural Forum, Vol 122, No 1, April 1965, pp 58-62
  3. ^ Alexander, C. et al., 2015, A City is Not a Tree. Portland: Sustasis Press.
  4. ^ "Transportxtra - Topics >". www.rudi.net. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  5. ^ Alexander, Christopher (2017-08-07). A City is Not a Tree: 50th Anniversary Edition. Sustasis Press/Off The Common Books.