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Cities, according to Edward Glaeser, have a similar effect: access to more people makes people more creative. Sounds like you might like the book.

One could argue, as I would, that 'conversation' is a term that is best loosely applied. When you enter, for example, the Sydney Opera House, to what extent are you having a conversation with its architect? Perhaps some impression or semblance of meaning really gives you an idea about acoustics, geometry or patters in general.

I don't think that all projects lead to positive change; there are definitely some mad scientists out there.