Creating an Attractive City

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last — the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is the third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.

Here is New York – E.B.White 

Oh what can I say… I will always find an excuse to worm a gem from Here is New York into a piece of writing.

Anyway, this post is really about a Financial Times article (Life & Arts section, naturally) that looks at creating attractive cities. Rather than looking to the future it compares a number of cities around the world and attempts to briefly identify what makes them beautiful. My favourite part of the article is the list of Edwin Heathcote’s ‘Beautiful moments in cities’.

His ‘beautiful moments’ take place in London, Istanbul and Lisbon, amongst others. I disagree with each of his suggestions which is simply wonderful as I truly believe that when we describe a city as beautiful, we are referring to our own special moment of beauty in a set urban space. It is personal, subjective and we believe it with unwavering conviction.

As a little project I’m working on a list of my own personal moments, and will share these soon. For now I would love it if you could inspire and educate us with your suggestions, so please share your own ‘Beautiful moments in cities’!

Share your thoughts