Sunday, January 11, 2009


When I look at San Francisco from across the bay I don't see a city. I see trillions of dreams. Each one shapes the substances and forces of nature into skyscrapers and salt shakers, row houses and ringtones, coffee cups and countless other things. Somewhere in the teeming forms that rise and fall into streets and neighborhoods, a child in a sandbox dreams sand into a castle. A college student imagines blue paint onto the ceiling of her apartment. A storekeeper envisions the new red sweaters to display in the window. A gardener mows a park lawn. A construction crew plans the foundation of a new office building. 

When I walk through the city, I think of what the great architect Louis Kahn said, "A city is a place of availablities. It is a place a child may see something that will tell him what he wants to do his whole life." I see how the dreams of children from the past have formed the city of the present. I see the dreams of one person weaving into the dreams of others, laying the foundations for the city as it will be tomorrow. 

I think of my own dreams for a city that dreams the wildness of nature into the streets and buildings. The buildings would be shaped to reflect the geometry of the sunlight. The roofs would be gardens producing food. And the roof eaves would be designed to invite birds to nest. Windmills scattered here and there would sparking in the air. Trees would line every boulevard. Every detail would be a reminder of the interdependence of Nature, Imagination and Architecture. The city would be experienced as it is, a fluid, changing, living dream we inhabit.

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