what people, what relations, what style of life, what aesthetic values
February 16, 2013, 2:20 pm
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visakhapatnam hb colony k r deepakDavid Owen said, “our cities are products of our failure to understand what we really want.” (Green Metropolis) Robert Park says – below – we make our cities after our hearts’ desire, and we remake ourselves by making cities. Put them together and we have a crazy proposition:  to not know what we want and to passively, and out of misunderstanding, allow what we make to make us.

In the excerpt from his book Rebel Cities below, the author Harvey extrapolates:  cities affect who we are, the quality of our relations with others and with nature, how we work and use tools, the values we hold.

We could try to bring balance back to the formula: to know what we want and then, eventually, to see the environments that we build transform us in beneficial ways.

From David Harvey’s book Rebel Cities:

The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is:  “man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the city man has remade himself.”  If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the city is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city more after our heart’s desire.

David Harvey, Rebel Cities


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