Urban Nightmare


Imagine walking alone for hours in a desert. It has been hours since you've last seen another human being and your mind is beginning to play tricks on you. You're desperate, tired and vulnerable. Finally, you see a city not far from where you are. Within an hour, you manage to reach the city. As you enter the city, you realize something eerie, something out of place. There is no sign of human beings. You take note that the houses seem quite modern, as do the stores, and there is no sign of abandonment as everything seems well kept, yet there is not a single person in sight. You feel uncomfortable.

Too often, do we seek comfort and shelter in the city. After being away, we return with relief because the city represents our comfort zone.

After a weekend of camping or backpacking in the woods, we return home and sometimes, one of our first thoughts is, "Civilization!".

Our comfort comes from familiarity, especially in our time of need, like a Starbucks coffee shop in a foreign country. If you were in the midst of being chased by a thief, you will immediately run to the closest home or store. That is what we were conditioned to do. But take away the people, and suddenly these buildings become a place of hostility. After the removal of humans, the whole city becomes desolate and we will think twice before entering a building, store, or home.


What is architecture without human beings?

5 comments:

  1. i would love living away from the city and all the people. I would also like living in a desert i think. but really want to live in a tree in the middle of a forest.

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  2. There's an interesting duality here. The twin desires of solitude and community. Having strange people in your place of solitude is agitating, but just as agitating is the empty communal space. I recall standing in a church during an overnight vigil and feeling a vast emptiness, part of which was the natural ennui of adolescence, but I would contend that much more was related to the feeling of unused communal spaces. Interesting thought.

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  3. Walking into a city without people would be really eerie, however, if everything still magically worked and I wasn't going to starve to death or get eaten by zombies, I think I'd probably like it just fine. I mean, there would be no line at Starbucks or anywhere else for that matter :) Imagine having NYC all to yourself? No one to tell you not to touch the paintings at the Met? Heck, you could LIVE at the Met! Awesome!!!

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  5. Very true! Cities are places that have meaning because of the people who live in them. Take that away and they're just empty shells!

    The scene you describe sounds like something out of a horror film! :p

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