City Dream

8 08 2011

Cities do dream, said the urban planner, and this city dreams too. I understood what he was trying to say. I understood why he was saying it. In his everyday life the city is just physical thing to him, a network of streets with traffic volumes to manage, a network of pipes and canals, a landscape of brick walls and concrete structures, a logistic challenge. Saying that the city dreams adds a dimension which we planners do not see in our rational and functional understanding of the city. I told him that, he nodded. We drank a cool Belgium beer outside in a park in a hot and humid summer night. Urban soundscape of cars and air conditions, voices and insects in the trees. This city dreams of fame and fortune, he told me. It is true to say that the citizens dream, he went on, but it is wrong to think that its only the people who dream the dreams of fortune and fame. This city dreams on her own. It’s the glittery glass facades who dream, the cars who wait in line waiting for the red light to turn green, the dark alleys and the empty corridors. This is not a metaphor, he insisted. The city dreams, or it might be better to say, that the city is the dream.