Johnny Town-mouse was born in a cupboard. Timmy Willie was born in a garden. Timmy Willie was a little country mouse who went to town by mistake …Beatrix Potter
When Beatrix Potter adapted Aesop’s fable about the town mouse and the country mouse, in her picture book The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse, she concluded that tastes differ. Some of us seem born to city life, others are happiest in the country. I fall firmly into the first group.
A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.Margaret Mead
So for Terri’s Sunday Stills ‘Urban’ theme I thought I would explore what I look for in a perfect city. And don’t be surprised if you see a lot of images of London; it is after all the city I call home, and I love it!
Ideally it will have water: a river, a harbour, maybe even a coastline.
The view of the Thames from Tower Bridge in London
The river Tyne and some of its bridges, Newcastle
Reykjavik’s harbour seen from the Hallgrimskirkja (church) tower
It will have some beautiful buildings, both grand public ones but also more intimate structures, including homes.
Buildings in London’s Whitehall, seen from St James’ Park
Grand Central Station, New York City
Houses in London’s Notting Hill district (no, I don’t live here!)
Mews houses near Gloucester Road, London (nor here!)
Houses on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris (nor even here – if only!)
More lovely houses in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
My perfect city will have at least one park; but ideally several are needed, to be the lungs of the city.
The Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris
In Green Park, London
Holland Park’s Japanese Garden, London
It should respect and have preserved a sense of its own history, both ancient and more recent.
Trajan’s Arch and the Colosseum, Rome
The Black Gate in Newcastle, one of the few remnants of the castle that gave the city its name
A visitor to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Stolpersteine in Berlin
We need some views, some vistas on the city, so we can appreciate it as a whole, not just in its details. My featured photo shows the view of London’s Docklands from Greenwich; here are some more.
View of Paris from the suburb of Belleville
View over Naples at sunset
Manhattan from Liberty Island, New York City
New York City at sunset from the Top of the Rock
I’d like to see some vibrant street art, even though I know it’s not to everyone’s taste! Just one example, as I’ve posted so much elsewhere in this blog. I’ve chosen one that seems particularly appropriate.
Mural on the south bank of the Thames in London
Talking of art, what is a city without culture? Museums, theatres, art galleries, …
Zaha Hadid’s stunning extension at the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens
Inside the Guggenheim Museum, New York City
Looking down at bookstacks in Seattle’s pioneering public library
But in the end it all comes down to the people; people make a city.
Young people on a warm evening in Bologna
Stall-holders in a Marrakesh souk
A family feeding the ducks at Tjörnin Pond in Reykjavik
Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier on a Sunday afternoon
Participants at the recent London Stand With Ukraine march, at Piccadilly Circus; a time to be proud of my city