June 1st, 2011

The microcosm/macrocosm analogy turned on its head

Since it occurred to me that I can cycle across something as big and densely developed as Manhattan, in roughly the time it would take to walk from one end to the other of a large building, I've been wanting to know if, perceptually, a city could be a building. So I set out for an hour of willy nilly cycling around New York; pottering around the house, if you will. Okay, I can conclude, cycling is not quite so quick that one might simply pop across town to pick up their jumper (as one might pop up to their apartment upon learning it is cold out when leaving their lobby). However, you can whiz about changing your mind. A bike shrinks Manhattan to roughly the size of a large indoor shopping centre. I hope you find that thought illuminating. I say it knowing there is a tradition of seeing buildings as miniature versions of cities. The way it eats up cities so quickly, the bicycle inverts that analogy.