Open City


Somerset House

Image by Sain De Livre

Despite the dominating trend amongst city dwellers to retreat back to the countryside - and our countless efforts in integrating such behaviours, traditions and even atmospheres to the heart of our concrete, glass and steel mega-cities - we are arguably drawn to living in urban environments rather than rural ones.
Given the opportunity to ditch the city-buzz and let’s not forget hardship, for a better, cheaper, cleaner, healthier and generally wholehearted country-side living, a surprising majority of us will likely refuse the offer. Yet continue to look forward to our country, fresh-air breaks and imitate every aspect of rural living within our apartment blocks and strictly imported food intake. The reasons as to why we are lured to this estranged living is a fascinating topic no doubt, and is integral to the ways our metropolises are built, whether we can relate to this infrastructure or not.
Perhaps then it’s time we begin to re-evaluate our urban dwelling, and come to terms with our humanistic evolution to such states. We ourselves have produced the reality that is experienced today: office spaces, majority of populations migrating to cities, consumerist, materialistic values that hold much more importance in the city than they do in the country, the list goes on.
As part of the London Design Biennale, author and urbanist Leo Hollis argues that cities are good for us and shows the ways in which urban living offers the best possible hope for the future. Hollis also looks at the greatest threats to this prospect: environmental calamity, gross inequality, the end of trust and how we might tackle them. So it might be time we begin to accept our bizarre nature to remove ourselves from nature itself, and embrace the somewhat utopian yet wholly realistic benefits and challenges presented as its result.