What is the city but the people?



Initially published at CAAC blog

An article written for the Urban Solutions Seminar, Birmingham May 2012. 
Amazing cities. Social constructions, where the best and the worst of humanity live together.  From the first fortifications in the Middle Ages to the megapolis of Tokio or Mexico, cities have developed and now seem the most natural environment to gather people. However, we may ask if people do really live together or they are just packed one next to the other.
And the question becomes urgent when it comes to youth. A city that looses young people is prone to agony. Where young people violently revolts, all institutions are at stake and peace and power disappear. Youth means hope and care.  If you miss them, if you let them down, you are discarding the values that have created your city; you are throwing stones against the community.
Thus there is a significant need to create, foster and maintain common ground. Cities are more than city councils and rules and taxes, cities are a social cosmos that must search for cohesion and solidarity. When drawing long term strategies, youth has to be taken into account in a manner that allows real involvement. The public arena should be open for discussion, but also for listening.
In these times of structural changes we cannot afford cat fighting on unimportant things. The economy, the society, the world have to (and will) be rebuilt. The questions are how and with whom. And, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind… and it smells like teen spirit.
(The title quotes William Shakespeare)

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