An Urban Consciousness

In the texts by Poe, Benjamin and Wilson, the trivial and fragmented aspects of the city, particularly the street life, have been explored and romanticized. In this context, the flaneur's endless and circular journey through the labyrinth(the city) becomes a telescope through which the audience can take a peek at the lives of people. As Wilson explains, "it was the trivial, fragmented aspects of street life that appealed to [the nineteenth-century Parisian flaneur]" and this particular ambiguous and disorderly nature of these moments became seductive and beautiful. According to a flaneur, the city exhibits its most interesting aspects in public spaces where the difference in the social strata and the inter-personal relationships are at their natural state. I think the eternal struggle between order and anarchy within a city becomes an interesting issue for urban planning. If cities are better left as "objects of exploration, investigation and interpretation," what is the most desirable form of city making? Should it become a process of taking pieces of the exiting awful yet beautiful parts of the city and stitching them together?