Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How Does Your City Emerge?

A City Emerges
Originally uploaded by ZenPhoria
I have just one (maybe 2) question(s). One question especially for those involved in the design and creation of cities. "How does your city emerge?"

Cities crystallize like halite into buildings and infrastructure. Just like crystals growing from the earth. Our network of roadways is like a complex series of ant farms (though a bit less complex as our paths are mostly flat). Cities grow from something.

But what do they grow from? Do they grow from the earth which they are located on? Are the ideas native to the landscape with which they are in? Or are these emerging cities masking over the language that exists? Are they paving over a system that could be beneficial and utilizable?

Whose idea was it to build Los Angeles or Pomona the way it is built? Why is it built that way? is it an imported idea and process? Is it not invasive but impossible to sustain? CAN it sustain itself?

I don't think that the modern design of cities and urban arenas are thought of as something that grows from where it is. I think cities are designed to pave over a "hostile" environment. But, unfortunately, the environments that we have paved over, aren't actually hostile. They are actually pieces of this complex system which help sustain us HUMANS, PEOPLE.

So how should we design our cities? I'm never quite sure. But we cannot pave over it. This is America, we aren't supposed to assimilate the landscape, we are supposed to integrate with it. Somehow a city needs to emerge from what is already there. Not just the materials but also the language of the place, the existing systems and environments should be the framework for our cities. A concrete sidewalk in New York should NOT be the same as a sidewalk in L.A. (it can be argued that there shouldn't even be concrete sidewalks at all)

So. How does OUR city emerge?

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