Some months ago I went to a charade organized by a developer friend who wanted to gather not only ideas but the best concepts on urban living in order to develop an island in the Pacific archipelago of Las Perlas. I only got to a couple of sessions but it was very, very, very interesting. It was coordinated by a very smart and experienced urbanist from the States ( I think he might have some Cuban origins) but really the ones who did all the work where the audience. And note, not everyone was an architect! but it didn´t matter, as what was in discussion was human lifestyle, happiness and common sense.
It was profoundly interesting, almost a zen meditation on how we carry on our every human movement. They talked about the city as this living thing that was born and made to the image of humans. But of course, once we were smart enough to create the wheel and therefore cars, we felt comfortable getting to “no other man has gone before” and spread our cement around. What was born as a vertical living in a very small but higher populated center where everything was walking distance turned into a horizontal lifestyle where nothing could be walked to, only driven to.
So the entire scale changed, and then we did.
Studies exposed during this conference (and later throughout my reading) point out that the happiest people on Earth today are the ones who actually don´t need to take a car to go through their week. They walk from home to work, stopping by their favorite café site in the middle. On their way back home, they stop at the neighborhood deli and shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. or simply go out to have dinner with friends around the corner. Their favorite bar, art gallery, theatre, gym, etc is probably 4 or 5 blocks away, walking distance is the key. The other one is content.
And stop to think about it. Humans love to be with other humans (well, in general). That is the entire point of people going to the opera or the theatre, there is a “skin to skin” communication, even if you don´t talk to the guy next to you. People tend to be more relaxed in those environments. They don´t rush rush, or if they do, it is just different.
But where are these places? mostly in … Full story here!