Blog 059 #UrbanDecay

WARNING: The contents of this blog are quite deep. 

For some of those who follow my Instagram account, you would be aware that I’m running a daily imagery montage. The idea is that the pictures would correlate to whatever blog theme I was running on any given day so that it would have an extra layer of depth when written about. One night when I was deciding how the blog would all look I remember searching the likes of Tumblr, Pinterest, even Google Images for moments that would capture how I was feeling. After mixing my passion for visual imagery with the skill of blogging I came up with the idea just to use all of my own images to build a better picture of what I was trying to display.

When I started writing, it wasn’t a goal to find meaning in emotions that didn’t exist but to report on real feelings that made real waves in my life. One of my first focuses was on nature and how incredible it can be as a tool for lifestyle and as a measure of distinctive happiness. After moving away from my small rural hometown at the top of the South Island of New Zealand heading back into the urbanscape of city life Wellington in the North Island, I began to see a huge shift in my behavior. Now it’s important for me to note that during my first year of studying architecture the year prior, I was infatuated with how spatial design and the communications of people and recognizing the relationship and its historic significance throughout the development of modern day civilization. It was a huge moment for me, realizing how limitless man-made creations really were. That these massive ecosystems existed in bustling communities such as these and that in millions of places around the globe, these urban lifestyles existed.

But this year was a different year. Having struggled with my responsibilities as a friend to a group of peers who struggled with my personality previously, I thought it was massively important to spend time figuring out what my real aspirations in life were. My parents taught me that love was the only thing that ever mattered. When I was twelve years old, my brother passed away. Our family never really recovered because we never communicated well enough to be able to grieve in a way that allowed us to grow correctly. So it was a dark place to be. Not on a surface level, but on an emotional and spiritual one. My parents struggled to talk, and I don’t blame them. Their lives had been ripped apart. While I was in the same boat, being so young and unawares I couldn’t begin to fathom how deep the pain would have been for them. I still can’t. The only thing that I could fathom was the immense amount of energy my mum put into showing me how much she truly loved me. That through the wrappings of a broken family, her love for us and the love of our dad, my sister and our family still stood through the biggest test any family could face.

You’re probably asking yourself how this has anything to do with architecture or urbanism. I can’t promise you that this discussion will give you closure but let me explain. Architecture is a very loose term. It denotes and entails many things but my focus for today is that it helps businesses create the ultimate visualization of their wealth and power. These corporate enterprises produce huge amounts of revenue and one of the best ways of showing off this power is by creating a building that symbolizes a businesses pedigree, which is the role of an architect. This is applicable to even more than just creating a structure which signifies a business but can also be used on less commercial stuff, like housing. Families can be their own entities, they can ask for a guy who is skilled in drawing and utilizing tools designed by other people to create a space that defines their life’s entire wealth. To redesign or to completely create a space comfortable enough to accommodate a families “needs.” My argument is looking at what has become of modern day architecture. These cookie-cutter lifestyles where slight variations like the location of the toilet, a different colored tile and all of these miniature customizations simply to find a balance where that family feels unique or feels special in some sort of way and it never occurred to me that it is the ultimate materialism imaginable.

Holding onto that thought. The comparison between architecture and urbanism is too distinctively consider the relationship between architectures. The manipulation of a large collection of customized spaces to intricately reflect the socialism within an area to accommodate the needs of people. That in its essence it the art of the urban planner, for planning’s sake. By making the connection that the urban planner would look at more than just a building, more than just space but understand how people move within that space, understand how motorized traffic drives across a place. Urbanism is a much broader picture of the state of affairs in comparison to the visualization of power, money, and greed.

My argument lives within a society that means to create convenience but in reality, is making our people more numb to the recognition that life is becoming too easy and that we are increasingly becoming lazy. That we really don’t need another giant ottoman in the lounge. Auckland could probably do without a 3 billion dollar tunnel just to shave twenty minutes off Joe’s daily commute to the train station. That Christchurch probably didn’t need a Cardboard Cathedral. That Blenheim doesn’t need to polish the stone floors of its memorial square, that Wellington doesn’t need another tram line up the hill to university because it’d only be overrun by tourists, and cost too much anyway. When you look back and see how practical we have been in the past, or even if you visit a rural township in the south island of New Zealand, you get this sense of manualism that you have to be more proactive, that shit doesn’t come easy and that pretty pictures don’t define somebodies personality, but the love of others does. That there is more to life than the passive spatial manipulations of money hungry businesses looking to show off their biggest toy yet.

This is my scope on urban decay. The hashtag symbolizes the recognition that we are becoming numb to the incentives urban planners and architects create. Although I stand by the encouragement of creativity. The belief in creation is that we gain new philosophies. Why I’m all for the progression of architecture, aesthetic should never trump practicality and the history of the art should never be forgotten.


Thanks for checking in!

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