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the city in my heart

Yancy's picture

The city is a limited area where people can live, trade, inherit and create culture. In the original, hominids gathered together to hunt, collect and make original deal because of the environment forced them to do so. At that time, because of the limitation of technology, they didn’t have enough power to resist wild animals which may threaten their lives. More people represented higher survival rate, because they had more power to keep safety and hunt. With the development of science and technology, the threat of environment became smaller, and they still gathered for different reasons, one of which was economy. They looked for more resources from other people to satisfy their living needs and tackled emergency. Basic financial trades appeared and developed, more and more people took part in and finally formed a steady area to trade and live in-a city.

I think there are two important characteristics of city: the limitation and culture. Normally, a city is established in a ‘proper’ space in the beginning, which means the resources can support the social activities and development of it. For example, Hong Kong and Shanghai are two high-developed cities in China. They can gain such significant positions, in some degree, because of their natural harbors for market, and resources in seas, such as fish. Resources are plenty but finite. When more and more people are attracted by resources there, problem is obvious: the city cannot afford the needs of so many people here. Apartments are smaller and smaller, with price become higher and higher. Resources support the development and also limit the size of cities, because the resources, such as harbors and fish, can support limited area which will be overloaded when excessive population enter. In history, such situation is normal, and government often provides policy to limit the population and keep the development. For instance, in Tang dynasty of China, the capital was Chang’an. The whole city was surrounded by high and solid walls. In the city gate, soldiers would check everyone’s certification when he or she wanted to enter. Also, the city was divided regularly into various part-Fang. Fangs in different position had their special functions. Markets were limited in two large areas in east and west, and opening time was strictly limited. Those rules were arranged for high speed development of city, because when people want to buy goods, they just went to east and west market. If the limitation did not exist, they may take the whole day in the large city to find things they needed. Limitations are necessary in the establishment and development of cities, as I mentioned before, resources limit the position and size of a city, but when I looked at the map if China, another interesting characteristic raises.

There are many ‘urban agglomerations’ in China, such as ‘Jiang Zhe Hu’, which is constituted by more than ten cities. They are all close to each other and often enjoy similar resources. So, why those cities didn’t become a large city? I think the answer is the culture. Every city has its own special culture which may be created by present people or inherited from ancestors. The structure style, accent and historical remains can all represent the culture of a city, and the difference between cities. My hometown is Nanjing, and I also stayed into other cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen, Taipei, Chengdu and so on. In daily life, the most obvious diversity is accent. Nanjing is no far away from Shanghai, but the accent in Shanghai is really hard for me to understand. When they communicate in Shanghai accent, I just stand by and smile. Food is another significant distinct point. When I travelled in Chengdu, I was surprised to the delicious, pungent food there. The whole week, I ate more pungent food than that in my hometown in the past 18 years. The cultural symbols of a city are decided by the position and people there. People live in cities near seas are used to eat seafood, because they can gain them easily. The accent is inherited and developed by people in the past and present. Those symbols are everywhere in a city. To people in the city, in normal times, maybe it is not easy to find those symbols. But to those who live outside, in other cities, the symbols are distinct. When I sat in an inconspicuous food store, tasted sweet peanut soup and looked at people in the heavy rain outside the windows, I exactly knew that I was not in my city, not in Nanjing. Nanjing did not have such rain and such soup. In my heart, my hometown has precious merits and disadvantages. I live in here for 18 years and the familiar feeling, the belongingness for me is unique. Maybe other cities are more developed or more beautiful; my city is special and irreplaceable. I think this kind of mental activity reflects the power of the culture of city and the necessity of the culture in the city.