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A city is a Novel

The oldest shophouse of Batavia needs to be preserved
The oldest shophouse of Batavia needs to be preserved

A city is an accumulation of human life from all different viewpoints. Even from the viewpoint of history, a city can be portrayed from the angle of political history, economics history, social history, as well as building history. In many higher learning, urban history becomes an independent subject. Consequently urban history turns out to be a sub-discipline (if we may not say a discipline). From urban history has developed different pattern about space and activity inside the space. Researches on urban history, in a single frame of sub-discipline, have developed in the cities of Asia and Europe. Even in Italy urban history is a subject prior to be analyzed before a building plan is laid out. In Italy, an architect there is an architect who needs years to understand the history of part a city before he could start to designed. Urban development that neglect the history is like delivering a baby who already died.

A city has spirit. Although it died, the spirit still haunts the human being. Even in a death city, its spirit and awesomeness are still present. Taman Sari or water castle of Yogyakarta for example, although she is already died, her spirit is still present among the inhabitant surrounding the castle and part of their religious life. Since a city is like human being, it should be understood like we read layers of event in space, superimposition of layers of human life. A city is seen from synchronic and diachronic. Synchronic is the depth of development phase and diachronic is how the city developed and “move” from time to time.

As superimposition many layers of times, a city is likened a thick novel divided into parts and chapters moving to several climaxes of a story. A city a theater of real life where besides building as its stage background, there is also politician who manage it and often corrupt and painful. Different to quiet village, a city is a “forest”, full of  guile start from bribery to opened prostitute. The dynamics of a city maybe is laid on how far the theater held a dialogue between actors. Nevertheless do not forget that a city is also a quiet theater. In developing counties, the subway is crowded by quiet people,  no know each other,   lonely in a haste.

From different angle and multi dimension we will highlight a city. Of course it is not an easy job as dimention means time dialectic. Opposite to that, a city often experiences cessation of time as the drama it performs lost its spirit.