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27.12.16.

Urban life thrives in trust

Cities are a remarkable achievement. It is within these structures that mankind has been able to create magnificent expressions of its subtlest experiences. In addition, cities provide the ability for communities to flourish and specialise to reach new levels of human endeavour and value production. Cities thrive under certain conditions, and they are desirable.

The basic element for cities to function and operate is trust; without trust, exchange and commerce would not exist. You can have a read into The Rational Optimist on this subject. Trust enables for better decisions collectively; if I do not need to worry about losing the good I am to exchange or even my life it enables for more complex interactions.

What is trust? Trust is not only being able to have individual data from a person, but if it is socially understood, it is a social construct through which I know how people that I wouldn’t normally know would behave. Whether it is for good or for worse, Trust can enable me to know how someone will be have, in an either positive or negative manner.

Communities that thrive are based on the positive side of trust. One where people not only transact in economic exchanges in an effective and efficient manner. While at the same time, being able to share the expression of their own selves without fear of being thwarted. This drives trust to a dimension beyond only an exchange of time or any good, but that element that provides a fertile ground for people to feel safe as to express themselves.

Cities are the repository of humanity. Buildings can be impressive, but the real essence of mankind is the social knitting of everyday interaction and the expression of these experiences. In addition, it is through these agglomerations of humans and their most common expression which is social interaction, that value is created and at the same time materialised in objects.

Cities in turn enable minorities to thrive. The trust that cities provide in terms of the safeness of expression, enable for minorities to agglomerate here and in turn reach a critical mass to consolidate their expression. Yet, these are feeble social structures that can be obstructed. Perhaps Florida might be right, in that the LGBTQ+ Community is one that enables high-value addition, yet, in my view it is a clear thermometer of how a city has consolidated or how it is doing in regards to the trust that is present.

Why is trust important for all? What about minorities? Trust is important because it makes our lives within our cities much more enjoyable and desirable. It in turn affects how we relate and drives more people to join us in our human agglomerations. Furthermore, minorities, within cities, are able to attain critical masses that drive different than average expressions of human experience. Taking care of a minorities and bearing them in mind, could perhaps show how a city might be able to thrive?

There are important questions, in terms of how trust is produced. Is trust produced by the state? Can the state hamper and thwart its development? What about actions that go directly against minorities, do these destroy trust? Perhaps one that is in our minds implicitly, framing it from the point of view of all these “annihilate all those different to us”-views: Is normal, average social cultural backgrounds the key to develop cities?

October 2019
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