the journey we travel.

The word “urban” can carry both positive and negative definitions depending on one’s ideas and beliefs. In good terms, urban means economic opportunities, culture improvements, historical preservation, community development, innovation of space, and public involvement. However, the same word may mean crime, air pollution,  poverty, traffic, and noise to another individual.

What we, as individuals, define urban to be, seems to be directly linked to our own characteristics and personalities. If you grew up in a crowded city where traffic, noise, commercial centers, the arts, and a vibrant lifestyle was a part of your daily vocabulary, you are more likely to believe the urban life is “the” life to live. Some place like New York is perhaps your dream city. I, myself, am one of those individuals.

Growing up in Tehran, a city with a population of 17 million people, traffic, noise, street arts, modern theater, tons and tons of commercial centers were a part of my daily life. And though it may not make any sense to some, I miss that same traffic I had to sit in for three hours on a daily basis just to go from my house (east of Tehran) to my high school (center of the city), something which should not take more than 20 minutes driving.

The same applies to those growing up in the countryside and smaller towns. To those individuals, peace and comfort translates into back porches, lakes, farms, and lots of natural landscape.

Regardless of where we come from, we tend to bond with towns, cities, and places that can provide comfort for us and our personalities. We tend to live in areas where we feel “home”, and by definition that is where we can walk around confidently, knowing it completes us.

We, as humans, have a tendency to define and redefine places of residence. We tend to shape them to fit our personalities, needs, characteristics, and dreams. Our cities, on the other hand, define and redefine us. They make us who we are, and for the most part, we believe they shape us to be who we want to be. We believe in the opportunities that rise in a given place,  which we had once created. We define our towns and cities and therefore they define us. We get characters from these places, where we give them character.

The relationship between humans and the physical landscape, known as towns and cities, is similar to Karma.”You get what you give” and “it’s always where you are going to be”.