Motions in the Metropolis

Movement through dense, diverse urban spaces fosters interactions that stimulate our thoughts of why these spaces exist. Growing up in New York City, I’ve been fascinated by the moving parts of the bustling metropolis for as long as I can remember. Whether pretending to be a subway conductor as a child from my constant commuting or embracing the shift in ethnic makeup and cuisine by neighborhood, it’s hard to say when my interest in Urbanism began. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to describe my interests, yet the word fits perfectly. It combines topics like sociology and economics, urban planning, transportation modes, contemporary art, design, music genre origination, and LGBT history — the list is endless. I constantly crave more of each matter as it pertains to urban life. I’m inspired by what individuals and organizations have always been striving to achieve in cities, despite the constant forces of change, destruction, renewal, and separation.

The thrill of urban spaces lured me to some of the world’s vast metropolises that I’ve had the privilege to visit, briefly study in, and continue to seek out.

What I’ve found intriguing is the rhetoric around macro-level urban planning models that can be rigid when trying to mold a living, breathing city. The beauty of cities is that they develop organically throughout time. While you can control factors such as transit, housing, and street design, we see more and more that large cooperatives and corporations are attempting to shape the spaces we inhabit. I’ve taken a particular interest in how we can holistically preserve, thrive, create, and let a city grow out on its own.

With the fast-paced nature of our lives in this information age, I decided it’s important to take a step back and add my voice to the context of what I come across every day. In starting this project, I’d like to share the many ideas I’ve been writing down — and will continue to — on the various aspects of urban life that interest me. These include:

  • Gentrification, housing, urban development, and socioeconomic disruptions in communities
  • Environmentalism
  • New innovations in urban tech, future industries, and governance
  • The rise of the global city
  • Culture, music, and art that is pushing boundaries
  • Transit & transport policy, tech, and frustrations (yeah, the MTA.)

That isn’t a definitive list in the least, and each thought, idea, or discussion will always be multidimensional.

All those sound serious and analytical, but I’m always adding little notes about my musings on urban life as well, such as:

  • Why Paris is beautiful on the gloomiest of days, but D.C. is depressing
  • The nuisance of congestion outside of impeding a city’s integral functions
  • How café culture brings people together globally
  • Syncing certain songs to the rhythm of your commute

In these writings, I’d like to incorporate my perspective of growing up as a first-generation American to immigrant parents in Queens, New York — one of the world’s true melting pots of backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.

Join me on this journey, if you’d like, and always feel free to share any readings, authors, exhibits, etc. or start a discussion (and critique my writing style!). Knowledge is what I seek and ideation is what I hope to spark.

urbanist / tidsoptimist / daydreamer / student & future planner at Pratt GCPE / jtschikov.wordpress.com

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