Monday, February 15, 2010

46 / Dubious About Dubai

In my recent travels I have been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris, Venice - and now Madrid. All great cities.

I am not planning to go to Dubai.

This year in particular, I have been trying to think about how the world that humans create relates to the World of Nature that we have not created, and upon which we ultimately depend.

Our cities are certainly prominent parts of the world we have created, and that we continue to create, but the great cities I've visited (and even great cities that no longer exist, like Tenochtitlan) seem in some sense to be "organic," rooted in and related to both history and to place. Great cities, though they are human contrivances, pay respect to the Natural World, and to the natural limits of our human existence, which must inevitably reflect the place in which we find ourselves, and the history of what we do and have done there. There is, in other words a reason for most cities to exist.

There seems no natural reason that there should be a city where Dubai has been built. No organic form reflects either Nature or History. Just check the picture. Compare to Venice and to Tenochtitlan.

If I am right, it is a profound error for humans to think that they can or should do things that have no natural connection to either Nature or to History. In this sense, I am dubious about Dubai.

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