Frontier cities are interesting. Both those challenged like: Rio, Naples, Istanbul or Hong Kong, as well as those at the edge of the future and geography like Los Angeles or Sydney.
Traditional metropolises like New York, London, Paris or even Tokyo are mesmerizing, offering endless stimulation and distractions, drawing and connecting the world but are increasingly less where people create and dare.
Reflecting the regionalization of the world, historic metropolises have become provincial or are losing their dominance.
Tokyo, Beijing, Mumbai, Istanbul, Hong Kong, London, Rio, Buenos Aires, have become local.
New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco are deflating.
Milan, Miami or Austin will never replace them.
The whole world is provincial again, as if it shrank. The metaverse may be global, but life is still at home.
California/LA: new world
Europe/Venice: old world
Asia/Beijing: other world
Venice has always been a place where cultures have met and flourished, acting like a neutral exchange. In a divided world, Venice can more than ever play that role.
Venice is a planetary meeting point - for centuries and still today. A forever city. East and West. People, faiths, ideas, trade, technologies, fashions, practices, have animated this meta-city, connecting humanity, beyond national or regional borders. A magnet that uncovers souls. A place where spirits liquify into its experience. It’s as if Venice is a neutral, yet highly energetic crossing, a world laboratory, a vessel of human imagination. Today, its challenge is that beyond the display of human creations, it must again become a place of invention and production. Venice showcases the questions of civilizational decline and resilience, and with it the climatic affront. The rhythm of walking between canals and bridges allows for a more contemplative state of mind.
Where hell lives in heaven. Sun, beaches and vistas are everyone’s, those lucky and the ones that humanity has let down. A living organism, physical, feeding and consuming body and mind. More than a part of the world, Rio is its own. High and low: mountains and sea, splendor and squalor, chaos and creativity. A city where hope has a sound, in samba and carnaval.
Berlin is Germany’s best card to lead it into the future. A city reborn after the fall of the wall, still young and open. There, Germany can capitalize on the country’s manufacturing and engineering roots uniquely towards the digital. Like many in Europe who think and talk, it needs to act.
Creation and destruction go together - the state of dynamic cities. Berlin today: inventive and decadent.
Bali is for you to get lost or find yourself.
Bali: community, traditions, rituals, culture and respect. Relationships first, including with spirits !…. what is the nature of ours in the West? I fear humanity comes last.
In Bali wages are $100 to -200 per month, yet they are virtually no homeless. In America, the richest country in the world has more homeless among all advanced economies.
In Bali and in the East, traditions are an asset not a liability.
Istanbul: a vibrant capital 2000 years ago, 1000 years ago and still today. How many cities throughout history have stayed that relevant ?
Istanbul, at the edges of Europe and Asia, symbolizes its cultural conflict between East and West. Will Turkey ever have democracy, with separation and balance of powers, over autocracy? An issue easily hijacked by both secular and religious debates.