Fashion and Architecture
Cities go through the same ups and downs as people. Whenever we look for meaning in hardship and destruction, we eventually find our selves, and with that, access to our full potential, humanity, and creativity.
Surfaces and Façades
Anybody who has ever felt broken and had to piece themselves back together will identify with a city like Detroit. There is devastation, but there is also so much beauty and creativity, it’s almost hard to believe the contrast. While the process of rebuilding is slow, there is a sense of empowerment that comes after learning to help oneself and others.
Love and Music
Back at the height of its glory, Motown asked, “what becomes of the broken-hearted?” They usually have a choice. Either they use other people and things to distract themselves from their loss and pain, repress it and cover the wounds, and carry on as before. Or they face themselves, broken and vulnerable, learn every lesson, accept all the teachers, find new ways to rebuild themselves, replenish their strength and energy, and grow.
Cities like Detroit and Berlin have all that knowledge and experience written on their façades. They carry wisdom that younger and more prosperous cities don’t have. They have stories, they have soundtracks, they have cinematic archives, and they have their branding campaigns.
At their most bankrupt and forgotten times, these cities often attract certain types of people who generate creativity and gradually transform the art, music, fashion, film, and culture scenes. Then the gentrifiers follow in their footsteps and turn the artistic neighbourhoods into trendy hot spots. Berlin and Montréal are in the process of this transformation.
We are shaped by the cities we live in as much as they are shaped by us. As we live in them, part of them also lives in us, and takes roots, and grounds us, even when we resist it.