Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inventive Places

"Today, if the city no longer attracts those people, that changes the city, too. New York still has the ability to attract ambition. People [go there] from all over the world, and that keeps the city going. It's as if you were priming the pump of the city continually. That's very important for a city if it's to be vital and active."

"Keynote: The Urbanist," Intervew with Witold Rybcyznski,by Marc Steiner, The Urbanite, No. 72, June 2010.

Taking a taxi downtown the other night I wondered what the cafe throngs were up to --networking and conspiring the next generation of this or that or just consuming and having fun on a hot night. Do we need cities anymore to generate bright ideas, breakthrough inventions, paradigm-shifting art and writing, out-of-the box ideas that dissolve the status quo? Who is struggling for identity and voice and who is sitting back taking in the arty tone? Is there anything authentic left in cities to draw upon? Are they even cheap places for a communal life and starting out?

The alternatives are anywhere, around the globe, on the internet, in universities. Place doesn't matter much --- except for where you want to be and feel most comfortable or uncomfortable.

"Remember all those novels written when cities were growing, by people like [Charles] Dickens? The city was the place that attracted ambition."

No comments: