The City is as much a riddle and idea as it is a holding place for structures, businesses and residences. The City can be an eyesore or it can be exalting but the constant motion of the urban propelled by ordinary people elevates the City into poetry - a poetry of everyday life. I drive through street corridors and bypass the Freeways of Southern California many times because I feel like I'm a part of the urban experience of living.
The City is disciplined at all times - it is the expression of the social structure frozen in the reactions and sentiments of city-dwellers. There is an innocence to the urban even if the streets are the launching place to a world of undisciplined, inequity, seedy areas attracting shady people. The Disciplined City is everyone behaving or else becoming subject to ridicule and derision. The Disciplined City is a beautiful entity that swings people forward and backward through the channels linking home, work and places of consumption and leisure.
The legible is the sanctions posted for the world to see and guide them into a disciplined whole*. The City manages the person's culture and the social order. As I define them, the City can be seen in all places - in small towns, in the country side. The moment that more than one individual comes together, a City-like entity is formed. The actions that the individual chooses is filtered through the eyes of another person. When inequity is consumed between multiple individuals, a new order is formed and new sanctions take hold - a new understanding is born. The Disciplined City allows for individuals to come together and separate from their small units of interaction and social consumption. My career hinges on tying the socio-cultural with the physical.
The Disciplined City is the City as if observing fasting rituals. Everyone suspends their everyday practices for the moment it takes to go from one situation/structure to another one. Most accomplish this without attracting notice. Some do not follow the strictures of discipline imposed by the Disciplined City which gathers the attention of others. Police interact with the public and regulate the actions of the undisciplined. The City is a place where many come together and when many people come together a multitude of undisciplined persons also arrive to the Disciplined City.
There is music frozen forever for us to ponder. The more structure - palatial, ordinary, relatively benign, commercial, provincial, plain - the more meaning is found in living. One of the purposes of life is to build meaningful relationships with others. The Disciplined City is the structure forming through our lives and adding meaning to everyday interactions. Structures follow two sets of specifications - the engineered dynamics that build and press these structures into place and the social dimensions of living in a world defined by Public Works. If Public Works did not exist, humanity would cease to exist.
*One passage in Kevin Lynch's classic text "The Image of the City" stands out to me: "Despite a few remaining puzzles, it now seems unlikely that there is any mystic 'instinct' of way-finding. Rather there is a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment. This organization is fundamental to the efficiency and to the very survival of free-moving life" (Lynch, 1960: 3). This does have a connection to the Disciplined City as I see it.