Dutch hofjes have been capturing the imagination for six centuries; their special architecture makes these small, hidden urban oases unabatedly topical. In every period architects have innovated the 14th-century archetype in response to changing societal needs. Residents and visitors always experience a special, urban intimacy in an atmosphere of collectivity. 'Urban Oases' unravels the sustainable manifestation of the hofje. It takes the reader into the alleyways of ancient cities and also addresses an important contemporary question: How can we create high-quality, compact residential environments that bring peace to the often chaotic urban environment?