The Nature of Urban

An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets. (so says Wikipedia)

This is a response to Weekly Photo Challenge : Urban. A great challenge, open to all sorts of exploration, thanks, but…

Too many photos possible…

Too much variety available…

So – lots and lots to choose from and create a post rather than a photo, a version of variety. I was going to write three posts, three cities, then thought how do people read, from top to bottom, which would come first? So instead this is a three-part  long post! [I won’t know if you read it all or not, like all my posts it is really more of a Diary for me.]

The Nature of Urban (1)

In Shanghai last year, having previously spent lots of time in Guangzhou , I wrote:

Cities belong to their country 
Not to any one person there. 
Cities belong to their country, 
Though they have robbed it 
Of space to see sky, 
Of dark to see starlight, 
Of soil to grow grass. 
Cities carpet their country 
With concrete and crowds.

These photos are from Guangzhou:

Guangzhou, a view from t-mall shopping
Guangzhou, Pearl River at night
Guangzhou yet another road, but quite beautiful

The Nature of Urban (2)

Then I felt better, as writing can be therapeutic, and wrote more about cities:

In the night city
lights brighten orange
hide the starlit skies.

Tall houses loom up
filled with people, families
crowds of loneliness.

Cross concrete roadways
Careful! Cars own these places
not made for walking.

Rivers once forded
Now bridged unseen by people
Opening umbrellas.

and I explored Shanghai – parks and shops, museums and skylines, not to mention the bureaucracy on which any city runs (look here?). There are many kinds of place in Shanghai, the not concrete places, the spaces, the expected, the quirky, beautiful and the ugly. Here are some:

The Nature of Urban (3)

Noise never sleeping
Eyes and ears watchful, smiling,
City children learn fast.

In long thin gardens
Trees stretch to a fractional sun
Unexpected, the fox runs.

When I returned to Edinburgh, I sought all the wonderful hidden places, the in-betweens of urban life:

Crocus, planted by local schoolchildren, brighten every spring
The allotments by Dean Gallery last May
How much will they have produced now, in August?

Now I am living in Block Island, no way can anywhere here be called “urban”.

My explorations will challenge me differently. City life is actually very convenient!

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12 thoughts on “The Nature of Urban

    1. Thanks- and I have been reading all your August visits with such pleasure, I almost feel I know the family and the favourite dog walks. I’ve been very lucky since my family took off to live around the world.

      Sent from my iPhone

      Like

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