Extracts are grouped by subject matter and listed in chronological order below according to when the first extract within each group was published. Thus the first extract under 'Self-organizing systems' is from a 1968 essay, while the extract under 'Cyberspace' is from a book published in 2004 (some essays, such as the one on cyberspace, were presented at conferences many years before publication). Extracts under subject headings are likewise listed in chronological order. Titles, dates and page numbers refer to the first publication of the work, except in the case of the extract from 'Return to craft manufacture', 1988 (under 'Customized Automation') which is an edited version of a published 1986 conference paper, 'Ditching the dinosaur sanctuary: seventeen years on'. Where the essay has been republished the relevant source is also indicated in brackets.
As well as providing a cross section of the author's writings over fifty years, the extracts also provide insights into the changing issues of the times. For example, in his earliest essays on self-organizing urban systems, Chris argues in favour of dispersed settlement patterns and against the high-density 'megastructure' projects of Archigram and other avant-garde groups of the period. The OPEC oil embargo of 1973/74, followed in subsequent years by a growing awareness of the related dangers of climate change and automobile dependency, compelled the author to rethink his own and others' positions on questions of urban density, all of which is documented in these extracts, together with discussions of many other key issues.