Politics and the City

A city is the conceptualization of a thought where people interact and connect.  This chapter goes into the details of what a city is what what makes up a city.  The chapter opens with homeless people sleeping in a New York park and how much of a negative thing those people were.  The conflict between these people and the city led to the removal of them from the park and further closures of the park.  This to me made me think of the occupy wall street campaign.  A boycott? A strike? I bet you that the vast majority of those people had no idea what they were really on strike against but hey it was a fad that lasted all of two weeks to try and stick it to the man.  In the end the man got the last laugh because one thing that cities are is money.  Cities have always in most cases been the central location of all banking and financial practices and in the example of New York, the stock exchange is the biggest example of a city being the location of major business.

The human body is nothing but skin and organs, the bones are what hold us up and give us shape and that is exactly what infrastructure is to a city.  Some cities have very good infrastructure.  Things like roads, public places, sewer systems, and safe and adequate public works are what make up a good city.  As we all know when you drive through Chicago heading wherever, one accident or contraction project and the entire city comes to a complete stand still.  Without infrastructure there is no city.  The book points out public bathrooms in India where a large portion of the population has either no access to or limited access to simple things such as clean water.  The attempt of the city to provide facilities to the local people is a good attempt at providing for those that cannot provide for themselves; however, this in practice struggled.  These bath houses went to crap and now are no better than going to the bathroom in the street.

Suburbia, block parties, and neighborhood christmas lights.  The next section of the book discusses the shift from cities to living in a thing called a suburb.  To me a suburb is still the city but it really isn’t the city.  Suburbs are a safe haven, a place where people can pretend that things like crime don’t happen in their city because living in a suburb allows for some form of pigheadedness regarding living in a city.  When my family still lived in Fort Wayne the city of Fort Wayne wanted to expand its territory but including our area of the county.  My community of Aboite wanted to remain separate from the city, but we ultimately lost the battle and were annexed into Fort Wayne the next year.  Just a good example of a city seeking to expand its boundaries the messy way.

Overall since the beginning of the city, cities have tried to assert dominance and at the same time be the center of commerce and trade.  I think it interesting to point out on a side not that the vast majority of major cities are located somewhere along a cost.  New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, food for thought.

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