There seems to be some confusion about what New Urbanism is. New Urbanism is not gentrification or displacement. It’s just a different way of building. When an urban development is seen next to the old way of building, the contrast can be stark. But should our inner cities really be sleepy neighborhoods of single-family houses? It was a mistake to ever build like that to begin with. It’s why housing is so scarce and so expensive. The more central a location, the more it should be the communal space of all the city’s inhabitants. Neighborhood groups act like their ownership extends beyond the boundaries of their own property to encompass the whole neighborhood. That’s not the way it works. It’s the old way of building that’s incompatible, not the new.
I like history. But maybe not like other people like history. I like thinking about the anonymous characters in history; the anonymous people that participated in all these historical events. And even events we didn’t hear of.
Think about the best sword fight in history. It’s doubtful that it was between trained gladiators or knights. It was likely between regular people, like you and me. Just a couple of guys on opposite sides of a war. This was a real event. It happened. I don’t know where or between whom, but it happened. They likely didn’t have anything against each other, personally. They had no real hate for each other, but they were swept up in the furor. They were just a couple of guys who wanted to live.
They met each other on the battlefield, swords in hand, maybe shields, maybe not. They had practiced sword-fighting, like everyone else, and had mentally prepared themselves to face an opponent in battle, but they weren’t elite swordsmen. With the clash of that metal, though, that adrenaline kicked in. Each missed or blocked swipe of the opposing blade was a second longer for them to live. One of their regular lives would end any second now.
Screams inside of them. Scary activity.
Must do anything to better him. And survive.
That sword is coming awfully close.
Inside both of them. Battling.
Fight to the death.
Life could end any second now.
They must make sure it is the other’s, not theirs.
And the greatest sword fight in history ensued. Maybe the people from behind watched this battle unfolding above all the others. “Look at those two guys. They are really battling.” Who knows how long it went on or how much emotion passed through their eyes to each other. But it did end, somehow. One of them won. One of those regular guys with a family he made jokes with and cuddled with; with a wife he respected and loved. One of them won and the other one died. Or maybe a third person came in with a sword from elsewhere and took one of them out. Or maybe they had separated themselves from the others and out of fear and respect, decided to stop and go separate ways.
This happened. I don’t know where or between whom, but it happened; the best sword fight in history.