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C200: Why Cities?

2011 March 23
by Carolyn Law

< Photo by the author - click to enlarge >

Cities are essential at this point in time. We all know that most of the world’s non-stop growing population lives in them out of necessity. But cities don’t thrive or survive when approached with an attitude framed by individual or corporate (the new “individual”) necessity.

Cities make visible the essential tenet of interconnection: in relationship to and with. Strengths and weaknesses of all the types of relationships (human, natural, industrial, domestic, and on and on into the full breadth of complexity) are on constant display as they are worked with and against. That constant shifting of the mix generates energy and sucks it away. Tidal. Cities are the great experiment in pulling balance out of what is constantly shifting.

Cities call for the best we have to offer while we find balance in a respectful way. They ask us to be aware. They ask us to nurture rather then exploit. They ask us to act as a community, on behalf of the community, to steward all the disparate parts. They ask us to be alive rather then go through the motions.

The challenge they ask of us in every moment is what kind of pivot point are we each in this inter-related cultural/social/physical/economic narrative?


Carolyn Law has been working as a professional studio and public artist for over 25 years, and has been actively involved in civic affairs concerning the built environment and public spaces.