The shape of things

A pigeon has halted its plaintive coo from a nearby window sill, giving me a brief moment to offer this answer to the question I asked in "Walking Man" -- can one understand a city without knowing its people?

Simply put, no.

What is a city after all if not its people?  What gave it shape and built its form? What accounts for its history?  Yes, place plays a role.  But fundamentally, it is people.

To walk a city, to see its shape, is only to get an impression of the city.  Perhaps the better phrase is: To walk a city is only to take an impression of the city, an impression that is always a time-stamp of the past, a past that is but a prior collection of people.

The true city lies at that point where the past, with all its accumulated history, impacts the present, and that point is found in today's people.






Comments

Popular Posts