ENVIRONMENTS

May 2nd, 2017 § 0

“…environments are combined socio-physical constructions that are actively and historically produced, both in terms of social context and physical-environmental qualities. Whether we consider the making of urban parks, urban nature reserves, or skyscrapers, they each contain and express fused socio-physical processes that contain and embody particular metabolic and social relations Produced environments are specific historical results of socio-environmental processes.  The urban world is … part natural/part social, part technical/part cultural, but with no clear boundaries, centres, or margins.” (p 11)

Heynen, Nik, Maria Kaika and Erik Swyngedouw (ed.) (2006) In the Nature of Cities – Urban Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism. Routledge: New York

Opening to the broader dynamics, it is hard to imagine water’s flow without our other inner waters of saliva, urine, and sexual fluids. The city’s libidinal economy reflects our own, we reflect it. In different ways, Venice and Amsterdam are terrifically sexy cities, founded on constant motion and exchange of money and energy. Cities of great bathhouses in history are big river cities: Istanbul, Tokyo, Paris, St. Petersburg, and London. They draw in, collect, channel. In a seaside city we are pressed against a volume, its vastness inspiring fear and awe to which we may respond with indifference or a wide embrace: beach cities.

TORONTO, CITY OF BEACHES

May 1st, 2017 § 0

Everything around me here reinforces the idea that the lake is a negligible entity.  I bike through the fabric of downtown streets which conceal combined storm and sewer drains, channeling crap to the lake when it rains a lot.  I try to hold my breath as I pass through the wall which separates me from the water.  As smelly, impatient traffic gets pulled along Lakeshore Boulevard through the Gardiner’s sculptural undersides, I think of the motto: “Ontario is great because it was engineered that way”.  Out of the city’s ripped backside, I emerge into a different airspace.  A jumble of condominiums line the discontinuous waterfront, whose mostly-hidden treasures are saved for people who already know.  I imagine tourists must wonder what is going on in this town.

My first Toronto lake dip was in early June, around midnight and icy cold.  The satin black water reflected a furtive full moon.  Propelled out by my quick, erratic breathing away from the bonfire and drums, I was glad not to see what lay beneath.  I looked back at the unfamiliar skyline, the sparkling towers romantic castles of banking braving the empty sky.  I didn’t get an infection.  Heartened, the weather warmed as I made my way from the Scarborough Bluffs to the Humber River.

Where am I?

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