As the late, great Jane Jacobs wrote in her seminal study, The Death And Life Of Great American Cities. "Dull, inert cities...contain the seeds of their own destruction. But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves."
Lively, diverse, intense...these are all code words for pleasure.....
In our fixation on the home and the individual, we tend to overlook the communal pleasures so essential to the civic enterprise. And let's not forget that the public realm is the arena where these essential qualities are played out. Thus is the public realm essential not just to the health of a city but also its residents.
Why else did Sao Paulo in Brazil recently ban billboards?
The same principle applies to buildings. For example, when SAS built its Canadian headquarters two years ago, the initial intention was to produce a building that enhanced productivity. That included provision of fresh air, natural light, adequate workroom and lounge areas, all of which are pleasurable. It soon became apparent, however, that the qualities that would increase output also qualified the building for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
In other words, pleasure equals productivity and profit.
Toronto Star Architectural critic Christopher Hume on embracing gratification in urban affairs: