People live in cities for a variety of reasons. One of the more delightful aspects to urban life is the immediate access to so many diverse public spaces and social activities. They allow us to lead experientially dense lifestyles and greatly heighten the energy and vibe of our cities.
The urban luxuries that one finds in great cities range from culture to sports, from learning to leisure. They are often the finest expressions of our architecture and the highlights of our built environment.
Cultural spaces cultivate and reflect the achievements and expressions of society. Museums are archives of knowledge and the arts. Historical museums allow us to celebrate and learn from the events of our past. Scientific museums showcase knowledge and allow us to experience and interact with science to better our understanding of them. Art museums preserve and exhibit our artistic endeavors as the pinnacle of human achievement and allow us to explore beyond the physical boundaries of our reality. They generate creativity and provoke our thoughts.
Theaters and galleries allow us to experience the collective development and expression of society. They nurture talent and ideas and enrich our lifestyles with imaginative works and narratives. Performances and exhibitions allow us to escape from the temporal and physical confines of urban life.
Humans are active creatures. Our need for healthy and active pursuits has been highlighted by the current pandemic. Sports remain one of the most basic human needs that help determine our well-being. The assortment of sports venues that one finds in a city is a luxury that allows us to pursue our individual interests to better our physical health. They allow us to engage in healthy competition with our peers, provide the adrenalin rush of small victories and develop sportsmanship in our youth.
Stadiums and arenas are the largest gatherings of people pursuing a common interest. There remains no viable alternative to the visceral energy of watching a live game. These spaces are essential to rouse and bring together the collective energies of a community.
They are modern day campfires where tens of thousands come together to share one communal experience.
Cities are a consequence of increased productivity and specialization. One can only expect then to find the tools and spaces that allow us to learn and develop the necessary skills for a continuous lifetime of learning.
The range of public facilities are not just limited to schools and libraries. The luxury of living in a city is the highly specialized training that one can find from multiple places as well as the heightened education provided by the best learning institutions.
Schools for childhood education to universities remain the main axis for human development and learning. Some of our strongest bonds and memories are developed in these places and they form the setting for much of our childhood and youth. Primary and secondary schools especially, are a basic part of any functional community.
Philippine Daily Inquirer publishes William Ti’s City of Tomorrow Column: Urban Luxuries. Click here to read more.