The Problem with Dubai

9 commentsDubai,Tokyo,Writing

The Dubai Skyline: Building-Gap-Building-Gap-Building, or S-O-S.

A metropolis is a boundless synthesis of cities and villages. It often begins life as a labyrinthine castle town that evolves over time into a dense urban network that never truly reveals itself, flickering in a perpetual process of spontaneous change that thrives on a highly erratic ritual of destruction and rebuilding.

Tokyo is such a metropolis. A city with no beginning and no end, it is where stories are spliced together and juxtaposed, sometimes in harmony, but more frequently in apparent chaos. The Japanese word for space is ma, which combines gate mon and sun hi. The literal translation of ma is “interval” or “space in between” — the light that shines through an open gate.

Ever so slowly, amidst the clutter of the metropolis emerges an immutable harmony that, like almost everything about Tokyo, spurns words for the silences in between: a naked urban haiku that washes transparent dreams over the jungle of concrete, the tangle of time.

So we ask: In a culture mortally terrified by emptiness, what is the future of a city that has no space for space?

For more on Japanese letters, refer to Why I love Kanji on meedosite.

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