A few years back I read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. A lot of things in that book stuck with me as I too am fond of hiking and backpacking (although I haven’t gone as often as I should or would like to). One thing from the book I constantly think about because I have an interest in the use of space, especially in the urban environment, is whether or not humans can improve upon the face of nature. In the book Bryson names the Hoover Dam, Shenandoah National Park, and Mount Rushmore as “examples of human handiwork in the United States that complements, even enhances, a natural landscape.”
Throughout history there are examples, some still standing, of manmade marvels that further the aesthetic of their surroundings. Often it is a monument or statue but sometimes it can be the existence of an entire city. My favorite cities that, in my opinion, enhance the surrounding landscape are:
and Oai, Greece
Most cities aren’t built to offer a universal appeal that balances the sprawl of urbanism and the beauty of the natural environment. That is one of the reasons parks and green-spaces are so important amidst civilization. Emily Badger wrote a story last year about a London-based company called Invisible Works. They are trying to incorporate man-made structures into parks that won’t take away the aesthetic appeal myself and Bill Bryson are so fond of.
Check out Emily’s article complete with concept drawings of Invisible Works ideas:
Honey Badger fact of the day:
The Honey Badger is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless creature in the world.
What is your favorite city in the world? Post a photo or find me on Twitter: @joshg22