Newton's Notes

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    Erin Sharp Newton
    Apr 25, '18 12:47 AM EST

    Excerpt from the Centre for Urban Design & Mental Health

    "To study the city means analyzing the full 360 degrees of reality that surrounds us through both concrete appearances, as well as its impalpable truths: time, memory, need and sentiment.

    There are many ways that the frenetic growth of cities has created voids. These are not so much material voids lacking construction but are more the absence of a rapport between people and their context. For example, there are places that one goes to solely for work or solely for fun, places where some go and others do not, and there are places where one feels alien."
    - Premise for CitizeNations, Cibic & Sharp

    In looking at the city, it is imperative to look at the people.

    In the good city, diversity offers stimulating variety without becoming chaotic.

    The good city allows for belonging, a place to be oneself, while also allowing community – a place to care for others, to not be self-confined. 

    It is this balance that creates rich living. And yet, in many cities, people find themselves with others but alone.

    These cities are often conflicted: constrained by their own nostalgia and history, yet in seeking to move forward, surrendering their essence, the old being thrown away for the latest technological advances.

    In this complex interplay of the city's past, present and future, we seek meaning and fulfillment.

    Perhaps it would be more helpful to invite the city onto the psychiatrist's couch.

    Mental health professionals help their patients understand and let go of the bondage of their past and embrace its richness in order to find and realise their hopes and dreams.
    Perhaps the same concept can be applied to the complex issue of cities: by observing human aspects in urbanism, architecture and design, and to attend to the gaps and voids in the cultural landscape by exploring  issues of human relevance in a way that allows for meaning and nostalgia, as well freshness and imagination.

    The editorial at the Centre for Urban Design & Mental Health, from the "ALONE TOGETHER EDITION" posits "malleable story structures" are intended to help simultaneously inspire the revealing and resolving of city/citizen backgrounds that may contribute to the constraint of different cities' hopes and dreams.

    They ask questions that, with imagining, might be answered....

    See more here:

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