Josh Thompson     about     blog     projects

👋, I’m Josh.

This website serves as scratch pad for my ideas and words.

I value coherence, meaningfulness, compassion, and kindness.

Overall, I care a lot about “cities”, the built urban form, transportation networks, and how issues of ethics play out in these domains. 😬

America is full of this: subsidized and ugly

I desire to nudge the ecosytem towards producing more of this:

illegal but beautiful

Pretty much all forms of human flourishing go up, and many forms of human suffering become less, when the landscape looks more like the former, above.

Additionally, consider not just a block or a store-front, but what would be directly opposite that block:

crossing the street

The cost per square meter and value per square meter of these two competing visions are quite different.

I’m currently working on nudging this ecosystem in a variety of ways, and always interested in increasing my impact. Feel free to email me.

Overall, I aim to combine/embody the influences of several distinctive persons, like Alain and Marie-Agnes Bertaud1, Christopher Alexander2, and other distinguished individuals, and figure out some small, practical ‘details of the urban environment’.

Footnotes #

  1. Marie-Agnes, and her partner-in-crime co-author Alain Bertaud wrote this book and this paper. He and Marie-Agnes are the subjects of this podcast. IYKYK. 

  2. Christopher Alexander basically formalized the concept of design patterns, in both architecture AND computer science!!! He reminds me of Claude Shannon.

    Design patterns, as he conceived of them, are at the core of the object-oriented software development I use most days (Ruby/Rails), and design patterns are at the core of his contribution to architecture and physical spaces. I had known Christopher Alexander for years as the author of A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, and had always tried to channel the same ideas when working on software projects.

    Only in the last year did I learn of his influence in computer science. He passed away in late 2022, and this eulogy is perhaps the best introduction to this incredible person.