Never have people been so well informed about the best ways to eat and build wealth if they want to be sexy and rich, yet so ignorant about the main thing holding them back on both fronts, making every day a battle against weight gain and cash raining out of their pockets. You have no idea, do you? It’s the city you live in. It is the way it has been designed.
Regardless of whether it is dense or suburban, or so spread out you can tell yourself you live in the country, your city doesn’t invite you to put your body to use as nature intended. It also costs more to run and maintain than a city should have to.
The problem, in a nutshell: machines. Cars, elevators, trains, air-conditioners…. It would be nice to think they could be taken away, but then we would be left with apartments with no ventilation and face half hour walks to the ground via stairs. As for those with homes in the suburbs, they would be completely cut off, desperately learning to farm for their food.
Is there any escape from this twin bind of working to finance machines that do our work for us, thus making it natural for us to get fat? There is—as with everything—if you’re already rich. You can employ a personal trainer. There are options as well if you are happy enough to stay poor, like living on some remote coastline and fishing and surfing each day.
Most people though, want to build wealth, so they can one day retire, or get their kids started, or whatever their motive may be. For them it is cities with millions of people that provide the greatest access to markets. Unfortunately, those are cities of a scale that could never have existed before urban railways (the first of the kind being London) and where access to markets has become even swifter since the advent of freeways privately owned fleets of cars (for example Dallas-Fort Worth.)
Most people are faced with a miserable choice: choose the life of a poor bum but at least have time to get a body like Tarzan’s, or try to build wealth in a city that stings them for the cost of the very same machines that are making them fat.
If this is the first time you have encountered anything with cycle-space or our logo attached, then know it is our mission to get you out of this bind. Stage one involved reaching out to built environment professionals through publications and talks.
Along the way we built a portfolio that includes both speculative and doable projects aimed at showing the viability, indeed the superiority, of a large city with a far tighter ration of machines such as trains, cars, elevators and air-conditioners —all causes of slack design thinking and peoples slack bodies.
The aim is not a city of treadmills and barbells to lift every time you turn on a light, but something analogous to a mortar and pestle. If you own one you know it is usually quicker to prepare dinner with than a food processor, plus it engages your body and you will only ever have to buy one. In so many realms we know that simplicity and essentialist design saves us money and time and is better for our health. We just need that lesson to be learned at the scale of the city and with the types of buildings and streets that go into its making.
Stage two, that starts with this blog post, is to educate the people who really build cities. It is not architects, developers or city planners. It is the market. In other words, you!
I am speaking to a demographic that has created many markets already. Food markets providing detailed information about where ingredients come from. Jobs markets offering flexible hours. Investment markets offering “financial products” when our grandparents were happy with porcelain pigs. As you will know there are markets as well for liveable, creative and glitzy cities all vying for investors and workers. Our aim is to create market demand, through education, for a city that serves our basic desires to be sexy and rich. Treat it as a happy coincidence that the model of development this angle will lead to is sustainable too.
There is much to cover in coming blog posts. For now, let’s just look at some questions you could answer yes to, if you lived in a sexy/rich city.
If you could answer yes to most of the earlier questions then I have some good news: your environment is conducive to you having a sexy lean body. Later questions are predictors of low living costs, while the last two are predictors of high wages and/or business success. There isn’t a city on earth that ticks every box, but there are ways we can get there.
If you want to be sexy and rich, I hope you will follow this blog in coming months, recommend it to your friends, keep an eye out for a book we hope to have on the shelves within roughly a year, maybe call us to speak at an event, but most of all see the sexy/rich city as something you will help to construct, by making yourself an educated consumer of urban space.