After being to hundreds of cities, what are my expectations for our future cities?

Today, let’s talk about the “city”.

Since I started traveling a few years ago, I have been to hundreds of cities, in different countries and in different sizes. 

From the ancient European city of Rome to the beautiful Portugal city Lisbon with their shining yellow trams; from the intricate old city of Fez in Morocco to the Abzerjian city of oil Baku,…

Every city has its own history, culture, and unique character.

今天,我们来聊聊城市。

从几年前开始旅行,我前前后后去过了几百座城市,从古老的欧洲城市罗马,到装满了黄色电车的里斯本,从摩洛哥菲斯错综复杂的老城区,到闪烁着新富光辉的石油之城巴库… 

每一座城市都有着自己的历史,文化,和独特的性格

[ Functions of A City ] [ 城市的功能 ]

First of all, as a city, what are the functions it provides?

First of all, office space.

This is more obvious in large cities in North America.

Take the structure of some major American cities as an example, the separation between their downtown and residential area is very obvious. Basically, the city center is composed of office buildings, restaurants, and bars, while most of the residential areas are in the outer ring of the city.

首先,作为一座城市,它提供的功能都有什么呢?

一,办公场所。

这一点在北美的大城市更为明显。

以美国大城市的构架为例,downtown(城区)和residential area(住宅区)的分开非常明显。基本上,市中心就是办公楼,餐厅和酒吧,绝大部分的住宅区都在城市外环。

(Urban and residential areas)(城区和住宅区)

Because people need to commute to get off work, this kind of urban construction has increased residents’ demand for cars.

There are reasons why the United States is called the “country on wheels”: highways pass through the city, the construction of the entire city is based on it and separated into different functional areas.

而正因人们需要上下班和平时出行,这样的城市构建引来居民大量对汽车的需求。

美国被称为“轮子上的国家”,高速路穿越城市,而整个城市的构建也以不同的功能区为主。

Second, dining and entertainment.

At the same time, a city is also a place where people gather to have a cup of coffee with friends and chat about work.

I often joked with my friends, saying that in Beijing right downstairs of my place is a kiosk and a small bar. But if I want to party with my friends at night in Vancouver, I have to take a half-hour bus ride to the city.

二,餐饮和娱乐。

同时城市也是人们聚集在一起,和朋友喝杯咖啡,聊聊工作的地方。

我常常和朋友开玩笑,说自己在北京的住处,楼下就是超市和小酒吧,在温哥华想和朋友晚上party,还得搭半个小时的公交车先进个城

(Vancouver bus system, in front, is a rack for bicycles)(温哥华的公交系统,前面是放自行车的架子)

[ The impact of the epidemic ] [ 疫情的影响 ]

In 2020, during the epidemic, due to the closure of cities, the functionality of large cities in Europe, North America, and many other affected countries are greatly reduced.

Here, we can take India as an example, where a large number of unemployed workers returned to their hometowns during the epidemic. However, in the countryside, these returnees cannot even earn basic living expenses, and many had to return back to the cities again to find opportunities.

However, under the epidemic, job opportunities in cities have also been drastically reduced, “the job market has died anyway”, people said.

These people, who lost their welfare subsidies because they left their hometowns, and were unable to return to their hometowns because they could not have a job opportunity, fell into the gap between the city and the countryside.

2020年,疫情期间,由于封城,欧洲和北美等大城市的功能性大幅度降低

以人口聚集的印度为例,大量失业的打工人在疫情期间返回了自己的家乡。然而,在乡下,这些返乡人无法赚取基本的生活支出,很多人又返回城市寻找机会。

但是,可惜的是,在疫情下,城市中的工作机会也大幅度减少,“the job market has died anyway”。

这些人,因为离开了家乡而失去了福利补贴,又因为没有工作机会而无法返回家乡,一下子掉落在了城市和乡下的夹缝里

What if, 

when the epidemic is over,

the city is no longer where we work, we can work from home without going to and from the city center;

we no longer go to places where people gather to meet friends. 

What else does the city can offer us?

如果疫情结束后,

城市不再是我们工作的地方,我们可以从家里工作而无需往返市中心;

我们也不再前往人口聚集的地方来与朋友见面,城市的功能还有什么呢?

[ The New Concept of A City ][ 新的城市观 ]

Although we always advocate the concept of a green city, there is one thing we cannot ignore, that is:

“The city is a past dependent infrastructure.”

Our city is built on fossil fuel products. We have built various highways and viaducts. In order to provide convenience for those who drive, each of our shopping centers has a large parking lot. There are also gas stations every couple of kilometers in our cities.

How can we transform into a green city?

尽管我们总是倡导绿色出行,有一点我们却不能忽视,那就是:

“The city is a past dependent infrastructure.”

城市是一座依赖于过去的存在。

我们的城市,是搭建在石油以及石油产物上的,我们建造了各种高速路,高架桥,为了给开车出行的人提供方便,我们每一座购物中心都带有一大个停车场,我们每隔几公里就有一个加油站。

但是,我们要怎么向绿色城市转化呢?

( The gooses of Vancouver )(温哥华的大鹅称道)

Some people say, “add to an existing system is cheaper than starting something new.”

During the epidemic, Paris has vigorously promoted the establishment of bicycle lanes, closed automatic lanes, and transformed them into pedestrian streets.

Vancouver has also begun to charge the congestion fee in the city center.

有人说,“Add to an existing system is cheaper than starting something new.” 

在原有基础上添加要比重新建立要容易得多。

法国巴黎在疫情期间大力推行建立自行车道,封闭自动车道,转变为人们的步行街。

加拿大温哥华也开始收取汽车的进城费

What will we see in the next few years?

接下来的几年,我们会看到城市变成什么样子呢?

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