I can't believe this November marks my 11th year living in the Financial District of Manhattan! I've been here so long, I sometimes forget how crazy city life can be. I was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Minnesota - spending most of my life in spacious suburban homes. Now I share a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate, and I have about 8 million neighbors. It's funny how people live in cities - stacked on top of each other in little boxes piled high into the sky. While New York is a complex city with challenging problems, it's still one of the most incredible places on earth, and I'm grateful to call it home.
The new transportation hub at Fulton Center opened recently, and it's just one of many new futuristic development projects that are changing the landscape of lower Manhattan. With the the 76-story Gehry skyscraper at 8 Spruce St, the PATH Pedestrian Tunnel, and the recently opened One World Trade Center, the "new" New York is starting to look like something out of The Jetsons. It's both exhilarating and terrifying. Personally, I find the gleaming new architecture to be out-of-this-world, and awe-inspiring. It feels like the future is unfolding, and I'm lucky to have a front row seat.
In contrast to New York's new space-age developments, this is the suburban house in New Jersey where I was born. I loved growing up in the suburbs, but I'm not sure where I see my own family in the future. While I dream of having a big yard and ample space for messy projects, I can't imagine life outside of a big city. I love the density, diversity, and excitement of urban life. I love the energy of 8 million people packed into 300 square miles.
As the world population increases, I see more and more people moving into urban areas. And like it or not, if we are going to fit more people on this planet, we'll have to get accustomed to living with less space. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. We all need to let go of some of the "stuff" that clutters our minds and homes.
One major drawback of high-rise living is the lack of greenery when you look outside. I can see why many people find the matrix of glass and steel to be cold and soulless. From my 7-story window, the seasons look more or less the same - like bricks and concrete covered in soot. But I like to imagine that the cities of our future will get greener, with integral parks and gardens built all around the sides of buildings. Check out the jaw-dropping renderings below, designed by WOHA architects, for the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition. Even though these are just imagined views, they make me optimistic and excited about all the possibilities. While I can't say for sure what the future will look like, I'm pretty sure it will be nothing like the past.