Friday, December 13, 2013

What is a City?

The city in its complete sense, then, is a geographic plexus, an economic organization, an institutional process, a theatre of social action, and an aesthetic symbol of collective unity. The city fosters art and is art; the city creates the theatre and is the theatre. It is in the city, the city theatre, that man’s more purposive activities are focused, and work out, through conflicting and cooperating personalities, events, groups, into more significant culminations
The Advanced Human Settlement
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The above quoted lines are taken from the essays of Lewis Mumford from his work on the ‘Architectural Record (1937). Mumford arguably made the complex nexus of the cities to very simple through his words. He calls it a network of geographic elements, the prosperous future of economics for the liveliness of the cities, a place where the knowledge based activities flourish and steps are attempted to increase the standards of living. The comparison of the cities with the theatre of social action is the most humane and natural process that occurs where a few people shares their views, spaces (marketplace, green areas, institutions, etc,) together. Mumford beautifully explained a city that gives the individuals residing, a sense of an aesthetic symbol of the oneness, i.e. the collective unity. What is said to be the understanding of the cities in the post second world war era, holds pretty much true in the current picturesque, except a few major changes that the existence of the urban spaces experienced especially after the formation of the various world and state organisations, global spread of the technologies and the so-called modernisation, to name some.

Elizabeth Wilson in her work 'The Sphinx in The City' describes a city and its ever increasing hemisphere from the 'excluded' point of view and calls it as the "preconditions for the continuing struggle, since in the city the poor, although 'excluded from the comforts of the city, are exposed to its modernity.' " She describes city as a space, where the gulf between what is and what might be appears to get widen.
The City raises aspirations of its citizens and gives more chance of their realisation. The city is a gathering of people from diverse culture and regions, collectively forming the so-called 'sub-culture' which constitutes the basic thing behind the functioning of the city.

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