Recently I was invited to take part in a panel discussion at the European Forum Alpbach in the Tyrol. This place has the reputation of being “the most beautiful village in Lower Austria”. I used one of the breaks to take a stroll around the village and take a closer look at it, and to my astonishment I saw that each house looks exactly like all the others – a stone ground floor painted white and the upper floors built of dark wood with balconies and each street-side balcony decorated with a profusion of red geraniums in full bloom. Never before had I seen such uniformity in any town or village. It was fascinating but also strange at the same time. And I began to wonder whether such rigorous conformity really could be beautiful.