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Aftermath of a Great Reset & Sex & the City – what it means for design of cities / societies (episode 1 – Intro) July 9, 2010

Posted by @Karen_Fu in creativity, design.
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I have been reading books of a different genre. And I am watching films that bear a different genre. I have lots to write and share. But I think  breaking this big chunk into smaller episodes will a better & quicker choice. I think this is really getting interesting.

Well maybe not all that different; just that its in a different style and taste.Something that I rarely would like to touch but realised that I have to because you can’t exactly design/plan or execute anything without a good knowledge of politics and economics. You can’t make fine changes when you don’t understand a wide variety of different ideas & how minds work. Fundamentally, I am more into American style after being Asian and European. I think its a special class on its own.
So what does it mean for new cities to become great cities ? What makes a place really nice to live in? I thought it was chiefly about great people,with essentially fine thinking of gutsy characters. (hence the title of this blog).  It’s really different from the views of an urban planner, an economist, a politician, an engineer or a designer. The personalities among these professions again makes a new multiple of mixes. However the combinations are, the common ground is to improve the quality of living.  The definitions may be different again in different cultures. I’d like to quickly write about 2 items that I have found interesting: a book and a film. The former is a book by Richard Florida’s ‘The Great Reset’ which I have waited for 2 months for the real physical book to swim over when an ebook could have saved the day..(whatever the reason why it can’t be virtually zapped over is another story to be amicably reckoned with…) and a film called ‘Sex & the City 2’ (which actually teaches us a lot of useful lessons apart from the fact that the film has lost a lot of its original flavour that fans like). The former is about discovering new ways of living and working after an economic crisis. The latter is more about new ways of living as a family/view in social life which is really very different to what I know and what I believe in.From an Asian brought-up, European-educated Singaporean, all these appear to be really interesting and on my grounds perplexing. Thus seeing things differently. I might open a can of worms. But after much thought, I think I’d rather open the can of worms. It may be real benefit to share than to keep. So here’s a candid piece of uncensored opinion for everyone to read:

I often day dream about how  a society should be like. In my elfin’s perspective of a cute world, my very first idea is that great cities must be in an optimal state. That optimal state must bear a few chief fundamentals, from namely a low crime rate;  sustainable economy with little or no national debt, a high domestic income without an over reliance on credit facilities of any kind; to low cost of living that yet supports a  high quality of living. Peace & safety within the nation & with other nations and multicultural/ multiethnicity societies are placed high on my ideals of a fine sustainable city.The ability to assimilate and tolerate different ideas without conflict should always be on anyone’s top priority list.

Values may be different and they carry different ideas to point into various solutions. Hence different cities. Some values are controversial. An example would be Confucian values. Confucian values may not be as palatable in the west for many reasons. But Confucian values have merits in where a high sense of order can be achieved through respect in various levels of relationship. No value system is perfect, but what we could really learn is to pick out the best of various worlds and make it our own. Western values value individualism and liberty, which opens minds out for aggressive & quick execution. The values show in the way we live and the way we see the world and the universe. In any way. culturally we are different and by different cultures we can also see different flaws and merits clearer in others to improve our own. The  economic downturn has not only effected the US but almost every nation felt the shock. Should Americans move to a rental society? I think to a certain extent, his ideas and solutions to the problem is valid. But I was wondering for those who start off renting & get mobile. Would this may well increase the income gap between owners and renters? And thus struck up another eminent problem?

Circumstances may need to put in order. On the other hand, I am thinking how long and how values will effect the quality of thinking and creativity that is required to grow as an innovative city. From a Singaporean perspective, will we be great as a tiny dot on the equator in another 10 years time ? Dependent on several factors.

Afterall, creativity involves finding ways to improve or create ways that have never existed before; and this particular skill cannot be taught. It can only be experienced.

More on this episode later.