There been some change moving into the core of the hive. This has happened after years spent wondering how to next exemplify my conservationist lean. The move downtown, to a large multiplex, a single building housing many people was the next step in a years long process.
The windowed living space high above the ground looks out into a sea of buildings, a honeycomb of others. Inhabitants are based in cells, an aquarium vantage where they sleep and keep their things. We call it the Fishbowl.
The street traffic and building installations create the hum interjected with passing music, loud voices, church bells, sirens and horns. My car is parked 20 stories under my bed. I walk commercial arteries to work, and pass tourists and shoppers with evening groceries at the end of the day. As a destination city for much of the world, immigrants, students and visitors all bring diversity to the crowds.
My city block has over 500 people living in it, hundreds in offices, half a dozen restuarants. The plaza and its subway entrance below is a muster point for office workers, tour guides, protests, parades, lunch yoga and evening skateboarders with video cameras. Even dogs living in the heights above come down and sniff around the fountains and benches.
Walking in a forest of buildings, some over 25 stories is like living in a manmade moutains range. The buildings in the core are another tier higher than their older cousins, making the 10th to 14th stories a rolling high mountain plateau visible from the new peaks heaved up by recent human tectonics.
The valley streets are the river transport for vehicles and are lined with commerce, residents and visitors. The economic clouds created in these mountains impacts the countryside around it.
The highest peaks and largest complexes have names, the lesser ones do too, if you dig. In winter, signs warn of avalanches and landslides. Each mountain building, each street valley block has its own micro-climate, level of bustle, community and history.
Living in the core makes me a local to some of the hidden features of the landscape. Many buildings are connected with tunnel mazes, accessible through the underground subway, while another six lanes of road traffic tunnel below the underground central train station.
Piccadilly Circus cut-out
There are some who never leave the underground during the harshest period of Northeast winter. They can get to work, the grocery, the gym without needing a spacesuit to go outdoors.
How Much Space Do You Need?
My pod dwelling is shiny and new. White, glass and chrome dominate the space, which is only one-third the size of the house. Building access from the street, or underground parking is restricted to those with access.
Technological advances for media such as with music, movies, games and books mean no longer needing to keep personal libraries, which liberates quite a bit of space. Your provide your own ‘natural’ setting, where indoor plants frame the urban views beyond.
Moving the right things into the tower, and having to let go a number of possessions to be able to fit has taken months. Like all moves, you realize how little of what you have is really required.
The vertical formula allows more people to be in proximity; the model of small dwellings allows cheaper, smaller units and better communal services. There is the added challenge to convention which directly defines affluence with space and possession.
A tiny habitation is still viewed as the unwilling choice of the sick, of the incarcerated, of the poor, of the hordes. It pulls opposite to the North American lure of the aseptic McMansion, its personal gardens, private pools. A pod unit does not carry the status of suburban throne and individual fortress.
Cultural Acceptance of Micro-Living
It is here that the millenial generation are making the transition to micro-living in order to be in proximity to urban life. The cultural barriers to living and being successful in the city are being driven away from squalor to fantastic opportunities.
from vincent callebaut
Life in the bedroom community has long been understood by youth to be featureless and restrictive. That viewpoint derives from those who do not drive or youthful energy that is negatively viewed upon by the watchful community establishment.
Why conform, why drive? This generation sees the opportunity of urban life. They understand that an enclosed yard with grass is not a natural setting; a lawn is land green paved and guarded against ‘outsiders’. It is definitely not a free, outdoor space.
The Entertaining Space of Urban Living
Only the most intimate of circles of friends and family are accomodated at home. There’s just no room for groups.
In the urban setting, the entertaining space is not the home, but rather the public spaces of the city, restuarants, cafes, parks, online. Like urban dwellers have always done, they make the public landscape of the city an important part of their daily lives, both spirtually and socially.
A Walk-on in the World
It is with this sense of sharing the city with others where one senses the success of urban living. Rather than be among a regular group of people in a village or suburban cul-de-sac, the city is a constantly changing kaleidoscope of humanity.
Exposure to diversity and cultures is key to tolerance. Streets full of all kinds of people are a tactile reminder that I count myself but one among the multitude.