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    Maturity Of A City.

    Deep Shah
    Dec 5, '18 12:59 PM EST

    Marine Drive, Mumbai.

    05 Dec. 2018. 11:15 Pm.

    As humans and beings acquire wisdom as they grow older, similar to it is the nature of cities. The older they grow the wiser they become.

    Why and how does this phenomenon exist ?

    Lets explore.

    I have tried to live and travel to as many places I could as my primary passion along side working full time as a professional there by exploring and experiencing the ways in which people inhabit and live their lives. Every place has its own way of living, systems, notions, beliefs, skills along with certain methods of celebrating, eating, unwinding, sharing, loving, disrupting, fighting and much more. Each thing carries a certain uniqueness and this all happens through two entities - you and me!

    How we live in a city becomes the way we define the relationship with that city and associated experiences with them. Its all about the variety of energies interacting and taking its shape in the way you express it.

    Take any city with its age less than 25 years and you shall see its nascency, futility and flimsiness. Our cities are like our body and mind, how you take care of it and shape it, is the way it becomes over a period of time. You try to balance it in all aspects and if you succeed in doing that the result is a healthy body, sharp mind and a relaxed fulfilling experience of life. On the contrary you get crazy for any one thing and your whole system goes for a toss, leading to blunders with a domino effect disrupting the very core essence of your being and a dull experience of life.

    In a nutshell, age, attitude and how a city grows, shapes the current status of its existence.

    The cities which are more than 100 years old or more than 500 years old with great histories are the ones which are humble as well as strong, stern as well as flexible, shrewd as well as relaxed, stiff as well as loose, inclusive as well as exclusive, old as well as new, historical as well as contemporary, established as well as open.

    They behave in a certain way that defines its identity and it is the people who live and the way they live that defines the place and its essence.

    Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Manchester, Hongkong, Tokyo, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Lahore, Prague, Istanbul, Moscow and many more are examples of cities which practically run our world today at any given point in time. What is it that makes them so strong that they have the capacity and strength to govern lives of more than 7 billion people on this planet! What makes them so hollow and empty that they can absorb any fatality and still keep shining like a silver armour ?

    The answer is the title of this article - Maturity!

    The ability to absorb change and still retain its core essence is the first sign of any mature city.

    Any city or civilization that takes more or tries to take more and give less is bound to failure anytime soon, either in its political upheveals or its economics, or its cultural conflicts or its societal imbalance or its environmental degradation or its technological derivatives.

    Lets take a local example to understand this better. No matter what happens or how things change, Mumbai has been the shining beacon of our nations progress and evolution. There is a very inherent reason to it as well. The city has gone through a serious grind of life experiences and different phases in which it has been tested and challenged. Yet it remains the place from where things prosper and branch out all over. The wisdom acquired by the people who live there and the legacy of generations which have passed by has made it so strong that no matter what, its identity remains intact and still possesses the bandwidth to keep growing.

    On the contrary, when cities like Bangalore, Gurgaon, Pune etc are trying so hard to grow and prosper into a megapolis blowing out of proportions on all four directions, looping in all their surrounding villages in the jist to compete with the world in a short span of time, It’s hay wired growth is not only slowly diminishing the identity of the city at its core but also questioning the livability and the resilience of that city.

    In today’s fast paced phenomenons that we have created around us, the bombardment of daily new innovations and the pressure of its financial institutions to generate quick profits is disrupting the socio economic and cultural belonging of that particular place. The result is very clear, viz. BANAL URBANISM.

    Bangalore is a beautiful city. Ecology is a blessing to that city and look at what’s happening there. In the name of development, natural systems are heavily compromised, artificial environments are dominating its identity and wiping it off its true character.

    Same is true for Pune. These cities are setting a very counter productive model of growth to the upcoming tier 2 and 3 cities. Everybody is trying to replicate that model all around looking at the internationalization that it offers and through that the vague perception of growth and a fake image of prosperity.

    Do we really want our cities to be so identical that there comes a time that they are all similar and provide a similar experience no matter where you are ?

    We are a rich and extremely diverse culture and it calls for a sensitive approach to deal with our cities, because cities are all about people. Not about the technology or businesses or systems but how we collectively exist.

    Hence, I feel there is a lot to learn from these cities and develop strategies which strengthens the core of place and not disrupt it, respond to its local needs and not localize the capitalistic ventures of mega corporations to generalize a way of living.

    A mature city is one which knows how to take care of all the age groups simultaneously irrespective of time and the situation it is in, and this only possible when the city itself stands on its own ground rooted into its own self. Rest all are layers which add on and fade away as time passes by.

    So the question is. are we working towards making out cities and ourselves mature or are we just living and existing to find our places in banalities of our times ?

    What are your thoughts on the same, let me know in the comments section below.

    Thanks and stay tuned foe the next article.

    Good night.



     
    • 1 Comment

    • Finjohn

      Leadership in the cities if wise, aids in the maturity process but poor leadership in cities mocks the wisdom of maturity. Look at the American cities of Detroit, Baltimore or San Francisco for example. They all are in direct contrast to the mature cities you spoke of. I guess cities, like people of all ages can still be immature.

      Dec 11, 18 1:25 pm

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This is something I intend to start as a platform to express my perception and interaction with architecture where by using my thoughts, observations, photos i click etc as a medium to express on frequent basis.

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