A City Deconstructed

A City Deconstructed

Why would a man in a canoe be in the cover image for a story titled, "A City Deconstructed" ?

When you deconstruct a city using a city it becomes cliche, so lets do it on the lake.

The qualities of a good city are characterized as - lets use Jane Jacobs to help with this -  mixture of primary uses, short blocks, a mixture of buildings of different ages, and high density. I briefly divulged into the topic of community with the Fourth of July post but I never delved fully into the topic. The lake emulates the qualities of a good city on a small, much simpler scale.

The water is the road. The boats are cars. The kayaks and sailboats, are bikers. The swimmers are pedestrians. The docks are the stoops of the lake and the beaches are the cafes and parklets.

Mixture of Primary Uses: The options of activities are endless. For leisure you can kayak, paddle board, water ski, sail, swim. And for the less active types, you can lay out on the dock or beach.

Short blocks: The blocks here would be the homes. The dock to dock proximity is vital when borrowing someone else's lake toys.

A Mixture of Buildings of Different Ages: While yes she is refering to infrastructure, the diversity of age on the lake keeps it active and moving. The older generation who most likely owns the homes keep the connections alive. They teach their grandchildren and nieces and nephews the value of neighbors in today's world. They teach the power of human connectivity and face to face conversations. The children in turn use the lake. They play along the shoreline, the ski, they tube, they activate the water.

High Density: This goes hand in hand with short blocks. The closer the homes are to one another the closer the people are. My uncle spotted his neighbor unhitching his boat from our porch. He immediately yelled over and asked if the neighbor needed help. These types of conversations happen often - from porch to neighbor, porch to water, boat to boat - the ability to communicate easily and well keeps the community strong and safe.

 

No matter where you live - big city, small city, or rural town - what makes a successful place for humans to live are these qualities. You don't have to be in dense NYC to achieve these simple goals. The context and their meaning may tweak slightly, but the excuse of suburbia cannot stand as justifiable because even in the most unurban environment, I found urbanity.

Construction Constructing

Construction Constructing

City Scaped

City Scaped