The celebration of ‘the urban’ as the route to follow in human settlements has been a common pattern when studying contemporary agglomerations around the world. This euphoria has been documented by plenty of institutions, books and publications. However, the idea of ‘the triumph of the city’ is not fully accepted and acknowledged by everybody; not everyone is enchanted and pleased by the “Urban Dream of the 21st century”.
What follows is a collection of 6 quotes from respected thinkers and scholars that confront the urge to switch from contemporary ‘Ruralism’ to contemporary ‘Metropolitanism’.
“Slum, semi-slum, and superslum … to this has come the evolution of cities” Patrick Geddes
“People were astounded by the Babylons and Ninevehs of ancient times. However, our modern Babylons, which are both cursed and celebrated, are much larger, more complex, and more teeming with humanity and gigantic machinery. Rousseau, deploring the degradation of so many country people who disappeared into the big cities, calls them “abysses” that swallow up humanity, whereas Herder sees in them “the entrenched camps of civilization” Elisee Reclus
“Agriculture, for eight thousand years the primary locus of human and animal labour, is now secondary to the immense, literally geological drama of urbanization.” Mike Davis
“We live in the age of the city. The city is everything to us -it consume us, and for that reason we glorify it” Onookome Okome
“Rapid urbanization was expected to mean the triumph of rationality, secular values and the demystification of the World … Instead … the growth of new religious movements is primarily an urban phenomenon … In China, where cities are growing at a breakneck pace, religious movements are fast gaining adherents” George Martine
He let his mind drift as he stared at the city, half slum, half paradise. How could a place be so ugly and violent, yet beautiful at the same time? Chris Abani