What Is Imaginary City

Topics: City, Hong Kong / Pages: 5 (1135 words) / Published: Oct 14th, 2012
There are about 51% of the world’s population now settling in urban areas (United Nations). Despite majority of us are inhabiting in “cities”, we do have different interpretations towards this same term, or different cities. For examples, what we imagine a city in the United States is totally different from what in India. According to Chris Healy, there is no determinate definition for cities, they are varied in our cultural imaginary instead. In this paper, Healy’s ideas of “cultural imaginary” of cities would be examined by looking into the the urban characteristics of an Asian city – Hong Kong, where mediatisation and technology play main roles in everyday life. Real life examples would be cited to illustrate how these imaginaries take material forms in our daily life.

Cities consist of both cultural imaginaries and lived cultural experiences we have for it. (Healy 56) On one hand, we define cities mainly according to the fantasies and expectations we have for it – a utopia where you can realize your dreams and quality of living can be enhanced with the help of advanced technology; or a dystopia where social problems rage and your life will be watching over. On the other hand, we describe cities according to what we have experienced inside them, including the restaurants we dined, shopping malls we entered and the transportations we took. However, Healy has noted that our lived cultural experiences are influenced by our cultural imaginaries also. (Healy 56) It means we are living in the cities in the way we have imagined should be. For instance, Hong Kong people seldom ride a bicycle to work though they can. It is because in a metropolis like Hong Kong, a primitive transport like bicycle are not “modern” and “smart” enough; private cars and mass transport are more preferred in this sense. This further affects how we build the city. If we intended to build a city which is clean and disciplined (which you think a modern city should be), we would have made laws

References: Blum, A.. Imaginative Structure of the City: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003. Print. Lindner, Christoh (Editor). Urban Space and Cityscapes: Perspectives from Modern and Contemporary Culture: Routledge, 2006. Print. Martin, Fran (Editor). Interpreting Everyday Culture: Arnold Publication, 2003. Print. United Nation, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2012). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 Revision, CD-ROM Edition.

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