Cities are our rule now, anything else the exception. I’m biking most workdays, on concrete over the ocean into the stone heart of a small big city, getting ten dozen channels of nonstop urban input and every day I wonder where we’re all going. The future is distributed unevenly and cities concentrate the unevenness.
That building’s in the West End, a super-dense part of a pretty-dense city. As you can see, it’s not all pretty; the upscale condo developers, fueled (the story goes) by overseas capital, circle these towers like vultures, looking for a chance to evict retirees and immigrants and singles to build anew. What replaces this will be prettier and slenderer and much, much more expensive.
What Rodney King asked: “Can’t we all just get along?” And by “Get along” I mean “Not let Late Capitalism inexorably grind down the luckless many who surround the small bright cadre of Creatives and Financials and Managers who’ll be living in the shimmering tower that replaces that grubby pile of West-End stories.”
Vancouver’s embedded in Nature and generally does a decent job of promoting internal natural eruptions, and yeah, I more often run pictures of those than these. But I’m less able these days to look away from the hand-and-machine-mades occupying most of my visual field most of my time. Some explode with unintentional beauty.
Cities are our best hope, to concentrate us, get us off the highway, and leave space for the planet to breathe. To get enough people together to have the conversations that lead to action, and to co-locate care-givers with care-needers, artists with patrons, police with thieves.
I can’t see living outside one of these. Actually I’m optimistic that we can save ourselves from ourselves, at least partly. And if we do it’ll start downtown.