15 July 2007

An Urban World

A UN-Habitat report stated that in 2007, for the first time in history, more than 50% of the world's population will be living in cities. By 2030, this will have grown to more than two-thirds. This report came out a while ago and I have been planning to write about it, but I kept thinking it over in my mind.

An urban world. Never again will it be the 'natural' habitat for humans to live in rural or non-urbanized areas. Farms. Green Fields. Open skies. Mountains. Deserts.

Nope. We're all inhabitants of the big urban jungle. Which gets me sort of worried, truth be told.

Thousands of years ago, humans used to eat fruits directly off trees. Vegetables directly from the ground. Meat used to come directly from the animals, and cooked. And over time, we've managed to stop eating fresh foods. We're buying everything in cans, buying frozen meat and vegetables, getting everything packed in boxes.

That's not natural. That can't be good.

And slowly, we moved from living in environments with trees, grass, rivers, to concrete roads and buildings. Smoke everywhere from cars, buses, trucks, spitting out all sorts of pollutants, screwing with our health, our lungs, out attitudes. Sewers underground, breeding nests for rats and all sorts of other filthy creatures; smoke rising through the sewer covers as the sun sets; dark corners and alleyways, dark yellow street lights give off a depressing shade and giving the homeless in the corners hiding some light to see where they are, and garbage bags on the sides of the roads, with more rats feeding off them, and flies having a feast.

The city life gives rise to a faster life; more businesses, banks, insurance companies, black market trades; everything has to move quicker, faster. More telephones used, cell phones, computers to communicate. More stress. Less face to face communication even though people are squeezed closer together than in rural communities. Squeezed together like sardines in a brand new tin can; yet they don't communicate. They see each other as faceless people. No soul. No hope.

Faster life means faster food. We quit eating the healthy stuff; its all fast food meals, each more tastless than the next. They become our staple, and we start to enjoy them; we forget what real food means, and use them to revitalize ourselves, even though they damage our bodies. A lot more than we think. Cigarettes as well; our anti-depressant. Although when were not on them, they cause our pressure to rise, they cause harm, and they mess with our moods, they make us more anxious, depressed, under pressure, and amplify our stress. We're rude to each other, relationships aren't as important. You see someone in trouble on the side of the street and don't want to help. You have your own problems after all. We're not living naturally.

These urban environments give way to new millionaires. People are making unbelievable amounts of money. The rich classes grow richer and richer. They drive up prices, prices for day to day goods, food, and accomodation. The prices rise, and this makes it difficult for some people to keep up. Many people. They grow poorer as others grow richer, and the gap grows; turns into a chasm. The difference between the poor and rich is astounding; as the rich live in penthouses and high rise apartments in their luxury building, the poor live in the alley behind the building, made homeless by their inability to keep up with the growth. More homeless; wrapped in a rag hiding behind the alley, trying to hide away from the rest of society. Looking for a meal in the garbage, looking for an unneeded dollar from the next passer-by.

And it turns into crime; starts with petty theft, just to keep themselves alive. But sooner or later it turns into something bigger; robberies, assaults, rape. Murder. Murder in dark alleyways in the middle of the night. But the city is too big for the authorities to be in the right place at the right time. Too dark. Too dangerous.

During the day, the sun doesn't shine. Its blocked by the huge buildings, so there are shadows everywhere. Bacteria grows in the areas where theres no sunshine; more diseases. More people falling sick. Its a big plague; a big disease, this city.

But they label it development. They call it growth.

And when you look at it from far away under the night sky, the lights, the buildings; it seems all so serene. So right.

What a facade.

(Though this article might seem a little extreme and far-fetched, the truth is all around. Take a look at New York, the prime example of this type of society. Even in smaller cities world wide, its all happening; Hong Kong, London, Cairo, and developing countries everywhere else. It's scary to think where we will be 20 years from now)


June said...

Well well well! I see someone's layout has changed and it looks great! I love black backgrounds.

Whereas you are 100% right, being a city girl myself, I have to say that I love it. I love the constant hum, cities are alive in their own way. I was trapped in the English countryside once for 3 days. Was about to die from the emptiness of it all.

Still, you're right.

Ammaro said...

Cities are nice if you're living in the good side! I love going to New York; there's just something about that city that doesn't exist anywhere else, but again, it somehow twists humans, makes them more empty.

Grey said...

Awesome ! just awesome , Read it twice !