The Jar of Urbanisation

When I gaze upon old buildings, I find myself thinking about how they were constructed; for what purpose they were constructed and how the space has been reinvented through the passageway of time. Even when fashion trends change–as they often do–these old buildings remind us of who we were, who we are and who we are in the process of becoming.

Growing up in a city that was in the process of rapid urbanisation, I come to realise that it is a process that never ends. I witnessed the very real fact of a city changing before my very eyes. A process of destruction and creation.

We systematically dismantle the old in order to make way for the new. What survives this urbanisation process? Not much, in many ways. And yet, housed within the old buildings that continue to live on, we make new memories. We have to for we cannot live in a past that no longer exists.

Mankind’s journey within its environment is no different to a jar, a pot or any vessel that can only hold so much. To make way for the new, we are sometimes forced to destroy the old. The jar is not only an object, then, but a way to conceptualise the very notion of city living. It is a metaphor for our way of life as well as our living conditions. The jar can only hold so much and therefore we have to let go of the old to make way for the new.

When urbanisation continues on undeterred, we are evicted from our jar and put into a new one. It is a relocation within the very same jar. It reveals the way in which ‘development’ impacts the land and the communities who need that jar for their survival.

Human activity inevitably alters both the natural environment and the historic buildings that no longer hold the same significance they once did.

It seems, then, that the jar is forever changing.


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