The modern city is probably the most unlovely and artificial site this planet affords. The ultimate solution is to abandon it. We shall solve the city problem by leaving the city .– henry ford
Have you ever had “the talk’ with your parents in which they tell you all about their childhood which is mostly sent in rural/countryside? Have you noticed how proudly they talk of their past with a tinge of saddening nostalgia? Well, if I tell you I have been a part of that conversation several times now. And every time they talk of their lovely past, it brings me to think, that what is it that they can’t seem to enjoy their lives in a modern setting as much as they did in their village? First things first. How it all did start?
Urbanization is the process of permanent settlement of people in small areas. Urban settlements include cities consisting of huge infrastructure and modern structures.
– Around the Neolithic period (10,000 BCE) humans first began to form small permanent settlements. Starting with living in groups, forming villages, then towns, then cities and recently metropolitans. As per some statistics, in 1800 less than 4% of world’s population was living in cities, and now in the 21st century, this has increased to more than 50% of people being urban dwellers.
What propelled the growth of urbanism ?
- Agriculture – with the beginning of agriculture and invention of latest agriculture equipment, humans could grow food for themselves and slowly the amount of agricultural produce started increasing which caused agricultural surplus. This caused humans to start hoarding, selling and exporting food grains/material which ultimately created a chain of people from different cities, hence the cities where the surplus was hoarded or where the major trading occurred became a central establishment. (Towns, cities etc.) which were more developed than others.
- Transport – with the invention of the wheel, and later advancement in the transport mode, people could move easily from one place to another and obviously, they chose to migrate to places to which gave them better facilities of trade, agriculture, water supply and safe environment. This caused the development of a few areas into a better residential zone. As when more and more people come and reside in one place that place is bound to grow positively, this caused abandonment of primitive locations hence a classification happened as towns/urban and villages/rural.
Now as mentioned above, according to henry ford we can solve the city problem only by abandoning the city. Now here in this statement which “city problem” is ford talking about? And do we have to give up on all of this comfort and advances that we have created with so much dedication and time? Let’s see.
One of the major problems of city life is the reason which was once the basis of it. Community life. as communities came together and settled down that’s how cities came into existence but nowadays what we see is that despite having so much crowd, the soul of cities resides alone. What I mean to say here is that we all urban dwellers are so close yet so far. The central idea of the urbanization is lost i.e. to come close for a community-based growth. You might be thinking that what is it that is compelling me to agree with ford’s statement despite being a city person myself? Well, honestly my sense of comparison has originated from the aspects of life that I miss in the city that are present in villages
What do I miss in cities?
- The warmth – not in weather but the hearts of people.
- A sense of equity and equality
- Absence of materialistic competitiveness
- A joint family setting or neighbourhood culture
- Closeness to nature
- Care, love and compassion
- A sense of brotherhood
- A value for being contented
So, you see. Have u ever experienced all these aspects of life in the huge multistory buildings, or the residential colonies of your cities? I have not. But as we know after so many years and this glitch in the evolution of establishments, we humans have lost or forgotten our fundamental values of brotherhood and neighbourhood, but is there any way to revive it? Can multistory building residents also get back to being civilized humans? Despite agreeing to henry ford’s statement, I would like to share my views on what the way forward can be.
In my opinion, to get our core values of the unity of being and hearts back, we need to use some elements as propellers of the revival. We need to use the following. As staircase to reach that height of being close again. These are:
- Festivals – the most basic and first of all element to attain our sense of brotherhood back is to celebrate festivals in the way they are meant to be celebrated. In earlier times as you may have heard, festivals used to be one important time when people visited their distant family members, to feel happy and spread happiness among their friends and family members. So we need to bring back that festive culture and not just stay confined to our little nuclear families, staying at home on such occasions.
- Reach out / connect – do you put those “ask me anything” or any other interaction boosting elements in your Instagram stories, or do you portray yourself as a person who is available for people if they need anyone to talk? Or any other such trend, which is good by the way but how often do you ask your family members ( close or distant ), or do u check on your neighbour and try to know how they are doing or if they need anyone to talk? If you do, that’s great! But if you don’t, well start doing it.
- Appreciate little stuff – I believe, in life, we all need some words of appreciation at times even if it is for something minimal we have done. Those words of encouragement boost a lot of our courage to keep going in hard times. So next time, your little niece makes a silly drawing, appreciate her. Or when your neighbour is planting new flowers do let them know how beautiful they are as a person.
- Talk to strangers – now the motive of this exercise is not to make u closer to your friends/family or neighbour but to bring closer all the individuals who are willingly or unwillingly stuck in this monotonous urban lifestyle. So go out, some park or any place and if u see a stranger strolling alone, just try to strike a conversation. You never know when someone sneeds u in what way, or maybe u find a good friend.
Now I hope by these few ways I mentioned above you must have understood my point. So as I am telling keeping closeness alive isn’t that hard to do. Now read the same quote by henry ford again and let me know do you conform to it or have anything more to add in my point of view.
The modern city is probably the most unlovely and artificial site this planet affords. The ultimate solution is to abandon it. We shall solve the city problem by leaving the cityhenry ford
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