Large Lump development is based on the idea of replacement. Piecemeal growth is based on the idea of repair. Since replacement means consumption of resources it is easier to see that piecemeal growth is the sounder of the two from an ecological point of view. But there are even more practical differences. Large lump development is based on the fallacy that it is possible to build perfect buildings. Piecemeal growth is based on the healthier and more realistic view that mistakes are inevitable… Unless money is available for repairing these mistakes, every building once built is condemned to be, to some extent, unworkable…Piecemeal growth is based on the assumption that adaptation between buildings and their users is necessarily a slow and continuous business which cannot, under any circumstances, be achieved in a single leap.
Christopher Alexander, The Oregon Experiment ; 1975 pp77-79
Politicians don’t want to hear this message. They need the large lumps, the overblown ‘regeneration’ projects whose only measure of success is how much money is being spent (often ours) because that way they can retain control. Piecemeal growth depends on lots of individuals and small businesses making their own choices – where would the politician’s corporate
paymasters supporters be then?