Derelict skyscrapers are not uncommon in the city centre,
because when they get old its easier and cheaper to build
afresh somewhere new than to knock down and start again.
These bricked-up towers rot into squats and vertical shanty
towns, awaiting the eraser of redevelopment. In some
neighbourhoods, there is so little green and so much
concrete that during afternoon storms the streets simply
flood. The roads themselves become gutters, as if the buildings
were the beings for whom the city was intended, and
humans their waste.
But turn a corner and you might find lush foliage, pristine
pavements, smoked-glass security gatehouses, and deep,
glinting swimming pools. For every wrecked no-go area there
is an optimistic new condominium; for every rotting ruin a
daring new spire. The city is being reclaimed all the time,
either by the forces of development or those of deterioration:
the only constant is its power to change. Mobility is celebrated
to the point that whole highways are named in honour of
Workers and Immigrants. That is why for every desperate
hopeful arriving today from the northeast, and every Japanese,
Italian, or Lebanese who pitched up in previous years, the city
is a stronghold to be stormed; a glaring citadel of opportunity,
with swarms coming from all sides to hurl themselves at
its ramparts, prepared to end up dead on the walls if they fail.
But they must not fail.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...