The Second Necessity

The second necessity is decency of surroundings: including (a) good lodging; (b) ample space; (c) general order and beauty. That is (a) our houses must be well built, clean and healthy; (b) there must be abundant garden space in our towns, and our towns must not eat up the fields and natural features of the country; nay I demand even that there be left waste places and wilds in it, or romance and poetry—that is Art—will die out amongst us. (c) Order and beauty means, that not only our houses must be stoutly and properly built, but also that they be ornamented duly: that the fields be not only left for cultivation, but also that they be not spoilt by it any more than a garden is spoilt: no one for instance to be allowed to cut down, for mere profit, trees whose loss would spoil a landscape: neither on any pretext should people be allowed to darken the daylight with smoke, to befoul rivers, or to degrade any spot of earth with squalid litter and brutal wasteful disorder.

– William Morris, “Art and Socialism,” 1884.


One response to “The Second Necessity

  1. I think I would have liked William Morris.

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