The City as a Living Work of

This chapter of The Art of City-Making begins to draw conclusions together and approaches the questions 'Where next?' and 'What to do?' Many of the ideas raised here were first developed in Adelaide, where I was employed as Thinker in Residence.1 Adelaide has great qualities, from wine to engineering to its lifestyle, and any passing criticisms made of the city should be put in the context of the openness which Adelaide displayed to me. The city was courageous in allowing itself to be used as an exploration ground and my observations were only possible given the free access I was given. Flaws would be found in any city under similar scrutiny.

Throughout the following pages you will notice that I use the prefix 're-' rather a lot. This is deliberate. It is a prefix of our age. Both intellectual and material pursuits are increasingly iterative and retrospective. Contemporary art, architecture, music and literature consciously borrow from that which has preceded them. The affluent spend more money on the past, for example, through buying antiques or researching their family trees. We are always in the throes of some revival or other, haunted by flares, mullets and adults wearing school uniforms. In such ways Western culture can be very self-reflexive. But I am also aware that the past, imagined or otherwise, can constitute an escape from the present and that 're-' can be a superfluous adjunct. Why re-energize when we can energize? Let's live, rather than relive. Nevertheless, I persist with 're-' because I want to emphasize as strongly as possible the fact that tackling urban challenges requires visiting first principles again and beginning afresh. 'Re-' implies a process of standing back, considering again, taking time to think. It suggests doing things differently. Most of all, it is active as opposed to passive.

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