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Raul De Maio

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How can we think about a city

I don't know if this should be an "idea", a "Question" or an "Issue" topic.
Perhaps you will say that what i say it's obvious but in this world -and in my city- it's not.

Some times the best way to solve a problem is change how we think it (cfr. Mathematics)
We normally think a city as a set of different elements: girls, men, children, dogs, houses, offices,cars, streets, hospitals, food and everything you can think or need.
You know perfectly there are a lot of urban problems. Traffic is one of them.
I (and many people before me, for example Saverio Muratori "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saverio_Muratori" or "http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saverio_Muratori" and Louis Kahn) suggest you think of the city as a single organism, a "human" body in which everyone has a role: streets are veins, bus,metro,cars,bicycle are blood and people is oxygen; the town hall is the brain, supermarkets stomachs and the landfills is the rectum.

Can this idea useful to think and solve some urban problem? What do you think about it? And what is your concept of cities?

(I hope i was clear enough ;P)

progress indicator
  • Dec 14 2012: There must be many different ways of looking at cities, and each way probably has some value, something specific to add to our thinking and analysis. Examples include: an information network, a voluntary labor camp, a collection of communities, a political chess board. The living organism model seems like a very useful idea. A city is very similar to a colony of bees or ants.

    One city problem that is not being managed sustain-ably is sewage. It now includes all manner of chemicals. These chemicals have never been tested for their environmental effects singly, and no one has any idea what their potential is when mixed. So you could also view a city as a mixing bowl.
  • Dec 11 2012: I think a lot of urban problems stem from the changing public transport/pollution issues which changed with technology. For example most Canadian cities are based around the individual being able to drive around everywhere. There needs to be more designing of public transit from the start of the city.

    That being said old cities need to find a creative way to allow for great public transit in the very limited space that they have to deal with