For The Love Of Cities
Author: Peter Kageyama
The soul of our cities has been deflated and we aimlessly float around in placeless spaces. We lust for cities on a Top Ten list, but do we love our own?
Peter Kageyama explains in For The Love Of Cities, we haven’t been creating cities for people to love. We used to build our societies for people but then we started to build for bottom lines. That may have been good for short-sighted corporate profits, but it’s been terrible for communities.
I definitely side with the author as he takes you on quick journey through the brief history our of modern-style development. A more in depth look into each aspect of what caused flight, single-use zoning, and urban problems can be found elsewhere – so I’m glad the book didn’t go too much in length on those.
What I was curious about was – what are the reasons we fall in love with cities? I’ve been to the city where it’s love at first sight. I’ve been to the city that grows on you. I’ve been to the blah, Generica city that really doesn’t have any memorable features and you don’t need to go back to.
According to The Soul of the Community report by Gallup, the 3 reasons a person falls in love with a city are:
- Openness – Good place for all: senior-citizens, minorities, families, college grads, immigrants, youth, gay & lesbians.
- Social Offerings – Good place to meet people, nightlife, restaurants, art & culture.
- Aesthetics – Attractiveness of place: parks, playgrounds & trails, downtown; the “overall beauty” of an area.
I reflected back on my own traveling experiences, and the places I’ve lived and… yep, that pretty much sums it up. You can go deep into detail on each, but bottom line is – to love a city is much more than just existing in a city.
These days, you expect the basic requirements like functionality and safety to be met. So while we may think of the “little things” as frivolous, these are what separates your city from the next.
This Hierarchy Of City Aspirations, as the author explains, are the ladder rungs a city must climb in order to reach its fullest potential. A self-actualizated city if you will…
So do all of our cities meet each of these levels? No, some hit parts, some hit all, and as the book explains, people these days are looking more to locate in those places which have meaning. Cities are the ecosystem in which we create meaning for our own lives, so those that allow us to do so are the ones we fall in love with.
With too many conversations, books, blogs, and articles to count about, “how we are going to create the city of the future” from Peoria to Paris, we must understand we must create the kind of place that provides emotional attachment.
I definitely recommend this book to all that want to improve their city, that open their mind to the possibility of doing things differently, and that want to create meaningful places.