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In many descriptions, the architecture reflects this multiplicity and infinity.

Another example of multiplicity comes in the form of the list. Such proliferation within cities has a dark side.

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It leads to many of the problems that plague cities and the built environment : overpopulation Procopia , sprawl Penthesilea , non-biodegradable waste Leonia , and the destruction of the environment Cecilia and other species Theodora. Tucked into these infernos, there is one city that acts cautiously toward nature. Despite the infinite possibilities of cities, they do come and go.

Though Calvino worries about the problems of modern cities, this is not the main focus of Invisible Cities.

All About Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities"

In a lecture delivered at Columbia University, Calvino explains his intentions:. I believe that I have written something like a last love poem addressed to the city, at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to live there. The desire of my Marco Polo is to find the hidden reasons which bring men to live in cities: reasons which remain valid over and above any crisis. Even the titles of the series help to support the enormity of this romance: memory, desire, signs, eyes, the hidden, etc. This love becomes an invisible thread, however tenuous, at the heart of the city.

In fact, these complexities help to balance the imaginative flights of fancy, to invest them with meaning.

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In his lecture on lightness in Six Memos for the Next Millennium , Calvino defines lightness as more than escape:. Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification. The images of lightness that I seek should not fade away like dreams dissolved by the realities of present and future.

A large part of the lasting power of this imaginative work is in its conversations with reality.

The best fiction, including science fiction, allows us to see our reality with new eyes, new understandings. In architecture, imagination pushes the boundaries of the possible. The invisible and visible should always be in dialogue, for within the invisible, there is the imaginative, creative, and possible. And perhaps even more important is an awareness that invisible perspectives—influenced by memories, desires, relationships, and other human traits—transform architecture.

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December 28, at am. Leave a Reply Name required Email required Message. Wordpress Hashcash needs javascript to work, but your browser has javascript disabled. Your comment will be queued in Akismet! In most cases, though, what we remember of a city takes place at street level. Certainly, our image of where we live is like that.

Invisible Cities - Wikipedia

As the architect Kevin Lynch explained , a city is a lattice of such mental images that we share with other inhabitants. If our experience of a city is limited to, as F. We know it from the mosaic of our experiences over time, plus our imagination. In this way we fill the gaps of knowledge.


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Of course, the more complex the city, the harder it is to do this. Our ability to creatively extrapolate from and interpolate between its parts helps make the city somewhat visible. But all these parts change in important ways before we can finish the process, which is why we can only catch glimpses of the city now and then. But what is it exactly that we are glimpsing?

What makes a great city a city is not its buildings and streets—its physical infrastructure—or even the patterns of people in public spaces. A great city, one that cannot be fully seen, is composed of the relations among those people.