by Joseph Raffa
In life it is impossible to stand still. Even if we are very happy with the way things are. Yet it seems that in the way we build, even though we plan carefully, we are uncertain of the consequences.
Eventually, we are confronted with the results of decisions all along the line and somehow they do not fit, not one hundred percent anyway. We look at the accumulated developments. Some we appreciate, others we are not so certain about. We seem to have lost something along the way and now we are wearing new clothes that do not fit comfortably. Yet now, it is all we have.
We can’t go back, yet forward leads to what? If we are not completely happy with what we now have, with the results of past decisions and planning, how can we be sure that present decisions will take us in a direction that will better reflect the kind of people we are and what we want in city living?
Then it could be that we are not very clear on this and that is why we leave it to the experts, to business people, to councillors and people of power. We put our trust in these people, but if we cannot communicate what we deeply feel, how can those who initiate changes include or consider any part of our unformulated wishes in their programs for change?
Each person may add only a little piece, maybe just a slight suggestion. It’s up to the planners to listen, to collate, to sift through the accumulated data, then to have the intuitive wisdom to sort out what to proceed with.
Logic is not always enough; majority demand may not always be the best way to go. Intuitive wisdom adds that touch of inspiration that complements all the other processes put into operation by the mind. It lifts conclusions out of the ordinary approaches, coordinating logic, experience and expertise but adding something more – an inner certainty that points the way.
As citizens we may not be in a position to see the whole picture. We may just have a deep rooted resistance to various mooted projects. Yet often, we cannot say with certainty what course of action we would like to see undertaken.
Certainly we know what we are comfortable with. A city designed to meet our deepest needs for tranquil living, liberally sprinkled with gardens and trees, with appealing architecture, that caters for arts, amusements, music – that treasures the past but does not allow it to control the present. Above all, one in which people are the main factor and not profit.
Fill a city with bright, happy, vibrant people, sure of their relationship with each other and with nature and they will reflect a sunny disposition in everything they build and do. And they will build and design accordingly with care, with love, with meticulous attention to detail. They will be alive to present needs, in touch with each other and with a deep understanding of the human process. These then are the people who will build the city of their dreams and live therein in happy harmony.