The City —A Living and Breathing Organism
The modern city as we know it, is indeed a gigantic man made construction but still, on a meta level it remains an organic one, a living and breathing creature if you will; it either grows and prospers or it dies of starvation depending on how it is treated by us, its inhabitants.
I see the city as a living organism, a collector, telling the stories of its people, their history, achievements, ideology, and fears, always aspiring to have its own unique character whilst constantly demanding our attention. Not only does it never forget, it even learns, internalizes and reflects the behavior of each of us. Every single person that wanders in it — there is no distinction between visitor or resident — leaves his traces of existence, his footprints, little pieces of his personality; we provide the substance needed, and the city is a passionate gatherer. It truly loves our stories; around every corner, behind each facade and each window, on every second of the day or the night, life is happening in its purest form, and the city delightfully experiences all of it, yet remains a trustworthy listener and stays concealed. You can expect it to keep your secrets, unless you want your stories to be told, in which case the city serves as a blank canvas, waiting for you to be worked on. It almost dares you to take advantage of even the tiniest piece and space provided to perpetuate yourself in it. Go ahead, wander around and leave your marks for the next ones to find. The city will thankfully accept your gift.
For those who dare, the city can turn into a dream fulfilled — as they see it as something inspiring, emotional and surprising — providing them with nearly endless possibilities to develop and express themselves, allowing them to live a prosperous life; for those who dare, life in the city can be a very liberating experience. For those who don’t, the city could turn into their worst nightmare of ferroconcrete and glass, easily overwhelming them in a cold and rational manner, only to leave them behind in a disturbingly claustrophobic and anxious state. Although the city itself is never really threatening but merely a mirror of yourself, a reflection of your soul if you will, it’ll hit you with utmost severity at any given time if you do feel threatened by it.
The city needs to adapt to us as much as we need to adapt to our city; it wants to belong to our lives, and in the same way, we all are a vital part of what defines it, the city is inevitable a vital part of what defines us. We live in a close relationship with our city, a synthesis; we have to nurture it in order for it to grow and take shape, as it too allows us to do the same. We, each and every individual roaming its streets, collectively build our own city, thus providing it with a strong visual identity and making it to what it is today: whether a benevolent mother, in whose lap we consider ourselves safe, or a murderous, all devouring behemoth.
We all bear responsibility for our deeds, and our deeds of today will shape our city of tomorrow. It's up to us to make our city more diverse, special, and therefore more desirable; to define whether it is a blessing or a curse; it's up to us to create a city in which we all want to live in.
So let’s create and always keep in mind: all cities are beautiful