One of my favorite motivational scenes, that inspires city reinvention, is the one above.
The photo shows the first part of the Nice, France tramway—a city-center transit line which has helped change an automobile-oriented downtown. Experiencing this image in real-time, applying the full range of human senses, compelled my understanding of what is achievable amid the urban fabric of today.
Immersion in the real look and feel (and sometimes sound and smell) of a more compact and sustainable local experience can feed arguments for change, justify expenditures or tell how to cast a strategic election vote. Personal involvement is the most powerful and verifiable way to champion the city cause, over and above mere acceptance of empirical data, article prose and illustrations.
Unfortunately, when it comes to these far-away urban places, not all of us have real-time access to the inspirational modern projects served by transit, or the historic monuments, streets and squares that illustrate the potential of creative city life.
Today’s post continues as an entry on The Huffington Post. For the remainder, click here. For more information on the role of personal experience in understanding the changing city, see Urbanism Without Effort, an e-book from Island Press.
Image composed by the author.