HARMONIOUS CITIES | Mild thoughts on City of Men…

Preamble :

I love poetry and so i got this piece to serve as a minor deviation from the occasion to post a new blog! It speaks truthfully of my account…

Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City

ONCE I pass’d through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions;

Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;
Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me;

I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately clung to me;
Again we wander—we love—we separate again;
Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go!
I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremulous.
{Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900}

Half of Humanity!

“Half of humanity now lives in cities, and within two decades, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s people will be urban dwellers.  Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month.

As cities grow in size and population, harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city and between their inhabitants becomes of paramount importance.”- Anna K. Tibainjuka (UN-Habitat)

Nairobi Metropolis 2030

The natural and induced growth of cities and the rapid growth of its populations means that the City Fathers have to give a new direction to the “traffic”. Men, just like cars…move in traffic

Human relations and their common bounds generally imputes that they rise or fall together. If the City is insecure, it shall be so to the rich and the poor: It shall be so to the hard-faced immigrant and the Veteran.

With new economic growth, comes greater responsibility. Economic revival in one strata of the population often means increased inequality, spatial and social disparity. It amazes me how next to almost every other “Settlement” of the rich, there is a “Sprawling slum” besides as if to set a balance. Some ebb and flow, some tit for tat of sorts….

Urban Inequality

Urban inequality has a direct impact on all aspects of human development, including health, nutrition, gender equality and education. Extreme spatial and social divisions, unplanned mobility (transport systems) may reduce peoples engagement in the formal sector of the economy.

If we leave behind our “fellows”, they shall come after us!

I think am proud of the Government of Kenya in its plan towards making Nairobi Metropolis a better place to live, to learn and to love.

Though in comparison to those we love, Whitman says,

“Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;”

It is because people are the soul of the city!!! There is such a thing as a City of Men, which means harmony in realtions; men fitly framed together.

Those friends you cannot write your story and leave them out in the sentence,

Paul and Silas

Meshack, Shadrack and Abednegoh

They give the city a “personality”, somewhat of a social hinge upon which men like Whitman turn. Apart from the survival aspects of living in the city, its the people in the city that give it the soul.

The City as Home!

I see “old habits” ebb away. Habits like going home back in the village. I do not know yet whether this is a bad or good thing. I shall allow the dispute to pass and only state that an entire generation is being born that knows the City as HOME.

They shall take the great procession onwards!!!

That is why we all need a harmonious city that is at Peace with itself and at peace with US. That is why i deliberately seek to meet my friends on Sunday that we may build a City with a Soul. A city of Men and Women.

It is this that captures my imagination better than the brick and mortar Visions of the City Fathers.

I love the Vision of the Unfolding Metropolis but i Love the People for whom it is written even more!

For whom are we stuck in the City if not for Our OWN? It is because we live not only in the City, but for the City of Our Own,

That which Our Own shall call HOME. And so we seek to possess and dominate it like the villager is pre-occupied by his sprouts, and rabbits, and cow-yards, and chicken, and pigs, and seedlings, and mouse traps…

Kindest regards

David Nahinga

@UjenziBora

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~ by ujenzibora on October 12, 2010.

One Response to “HARMONIOUS CITIES | Mild thoughts on City of Men…”

  1. I agree with you that a city is the men who live therein. But its the planning that matter’s most, otherwise we will have haphazard growth that increases the rift between the haves and the have-nots.

    Spatial, economic and harmonic planning of any city ensures that all enjoy a place to call home.

    Sometimes, better late than never, in this planning, but what happens when the late is too late like the case of Nairobi? Food for thought.

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