Friday, February 28, 2014

Flashback Friday #23 - "Dual City"

Today for Flashback Friday I would like to share not only a photo, but also a short story I wrote that connects with said photo. In the summer of 2010 I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy with my school and take a few classes. One of the classes being offered was called Urban Form and was about the evolution of cities and how they take shape over time. We had a few on site projects, but the one we had in Venice was the most fun by far. Venice was the last big city we were staying in and before the last night we were tasked with writing a short story about a city of our own creation that combined all of the knowledge we had learned throughout the trip. You could create any kind of city you wanted and several students took this to heart as there was at least one underwater city, one underground, and one even in space! We were then asked to read that story at midnight in St. Mark's Square! That moment will always be one of my most cherished travel memories, sharing the culmination of our experience in one of the most dramatic public spaces ever designed. Below is my story and I hope you enjoy. And try to imagine reading it in an urban campfire circle in the setting pictured above...but most of all Keep it REAL!

What can be said of a city? What defines a city? Is it in its origins or how it comes to life? That certainly contributes to what a city is but it does not explain it entirely. A city is in essence duality manifested. It is pure and un-clean, bright and dark, simple and complex, monumental and humble, bold yet serene, and both public and private. People find themselves in cities and define their lives by them, but people also loose themselves in cities and can start to blend in and forget their own individuality. Everyone experiences cities differently and take away certain aspects that start to shape them and build their character. This is exactly what Dual City does with its inhabitants and visitors. But if you were to ask anyone who lived in Dual City to describe it you would not get a straight answer. A wise man once said that if you live in Dual City "You will want to reach out your hands, brush away the clouds, pierce the sky, and search for the truth, but you will never find it. All you can do is find contentment in its constant duality." And people do find contentment in Dual City. It's because you can be whatever you desire to be, and you can also hide your true self just as easily. Yes, the people of Dual City can be just as eccentric as their chosen environment. Masks, just like the facades of buildings, are common here, but it's a good thing. It's more of a renewal in Dual City. A mistaken or scarred past is easily forgotten in Dual City and one can again begin to think of building the future, a brighter future. Dual City is a city of the past, but it is also a city of the future, constantly redefining itself and remaking itself. But with every city there is a difference between knowing the city and walking the city so, please, I invite you to walk Dual City with me because, in effect, what I have just described to you is every city you will ever visit...

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