Some say recent urban transformation is due to the influx of 'hipsters' with a real passion for food and an eye for design -- urban cheesemongers and mustachioed greengrocers, with their organic fruit and vegetable smoothies.
The silence of Brovès provided a stark and confounding contrast. I found while photographing the townscape that without its people, the urban form along the highway had little voice. Are there practical lessons from these two models of how a place survives?
Given the right context, the simplest urban intervention enlivens public space, reaps enormous value and fosters fundamental, human expression and curiosity. The public piano trend is among the latest of the many pop-up catalysts now popular in small city spaces.
Take a harder look, and see the reasons forests and farms have been elemental to growth management legislation, emulating the naturally evolved agricultural region that has always surrounded the City of Rome.
By investing in tangible projects that conserve precious water resources, create jobs in low-income neighborhoods, and make cities more livable, the green infrastructure movement, offers a powerful alternative to austerity economics and speculation-based growth models.
Unfortunately, when it comes to these far-away urban places, not all of us have real-time access to the inspirational modern projects served by transit, or the historic monuments, streets and squares that illustrate the potential of creative city life.
While the myth of the "Old Shanghai" is more a narrative cultivated by a few foreigners than a living point of reference for the Shanghaiers, Shanghai has an instinctive passion for the newness and the promise of each day.
Messrs. Hollande and Delanoë warn that Paris will become "a museum city" if skyscrapers are not built, and that foreign visitors and foreign investment will dwindle. In fact, Paris will probably be less desirable if its traditional attractions are (literally) overshadowed by modern monstrosities.
Our future city relies on dreamers who find inspiration in the possibility of really being able to affect peoples' lives. Our community's anchor organizations need to cultivate these folks. We need leaders of all cultures and across generations to unify.
The larger story, which can really only be told through numbers, is about how "China's urban population has increased from 180 million people in 1978 to 690 [million] now" and since rural birth rates consistently outpace urban ones, it is specifically a tale of rural to urban migration.
Considering that Beijing's plans for addressing the record levels of air pollution, 45 times the recommended safety levels, were greeted with little enthusiasm, this blogger would like to offer another one: time to abandon Beijing.
I don't necessarily expect that future historians will find purposeful reasons for the emptying out of our great cities. More likely, they will seek to identify social, economic or demographic reasons that resulted in the urban crisis.
If places are not implemented with care, and if they leave a sense of the overly artificial and concocted, we may collectively and forever chase The Great Gatsby's symbolic green light at the end of Daisy's pier.
If the arts in San Francisco go under, there is far less incentive for startups and tech companies to relocate here. Let's not make the assumption that the success of the tech industry is unique and separate from the rest of the city.
If the benefits of living in a city are diminished because the Internet brings access to the world to you, then why deal with the high real estate prices, traffic, crime, pollution and difficulty of living alongside millions of other people?
Today, across the world, in multiple contexts, the allure of the bicycle knows no bounds. For the past several years, I have been documenting this trend with my own photographs, in order to tell a short story with minimal words.