Sunday, February 27, 2011

the modern city

A modern city is an almost incredibly helpless and delicate organism. It has lost its power to produce the actual essentials of life. In spite of its transportation systems, it cannot move as they found out in the evacuation of London. It is like an overgrown idiot baby in an incubator. It is completely helpless without the aid of the many servants that succor it. It cannot even think except in a slow ponderous collective fashion and it cannot think at all in an emergency. Its individuals can think, but a city is an organism in itself and must have a directing brain and nervous system. Destroy its waterworks, it dies. Stop its food supply. It dies. Remove its directing intelligence, it commits suicide.
~ Robert A. Heinlein (1939) For Us, The Living

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