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Nepal 2014

Cities as Living Organisms

NEPAL | Wednesday, 2 April 2014 | Views [428]

I'm sure this isn't original but walking around Kathmandu I am reminded of an old thought: how alike an old city is to a living organism. Lanes and alleyways feed into streets and roads and these into squares and major roads, not unlike the capillaries and blood vessels of a circulatory system. Along the walls of these, tiny hole-in-the-wall stalls and corner shops and markets, like cells and organs, providing local services and processes in the supply chain than supports that local community that clings to the margins of the arterial ways in a true symbiotic relationship, each providing a service to- and deriving benefit from its neighbour. Food and energy is delivered, work done and waste created, air is consumed and exhaled, and life is created and expires.

Modern, planned cities fail because there is no symbiosis, no synergy between neighbours and neighboring functions, and therefore no life. There is no inter-depence between adjacent parts. If everyone has to shop at the supermarket or the mall, or worship on the same street at the same time or work in the same hours in the same precincts, arteries block, traffic spills into adjascent areas like bruise and thromoses. In these environments, how can you ever get to know your neighbour? Why would you need to?

Come on town planners! Look no further than your own bodies to design a better community.

Tags: city, kathmandu


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