Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Seoul, South Korea


Before moving to New York, I lived in a place where is surrounded by other many high-story apartments or buildings, a mess amount of cars that bothered me every night with the noisy horn and roaring engine sound, huge grocery markets and department stores, and beautiful arch bridge crossing over a road. Yes, I lived in the middle of city of Seoul in Korea.

In the middle of noisiness, the neighborhood where I belonged was quite peaceful not just because I lived in 19th floor and could barely hear sound such as disgruntled noisy kids on a street and bus noisy stop sound with pulling up, engines idling, air released, and driving away from outside that I frequently hear in here, New York, but also because people who lived around my house are friendly and usually more have an intimacy in relationship. I might feel that way, perhaps, because there were some similarities between the people and me in terms of cultural background, religion maybe, race, and ethnicity.

There are other elements beyond the feeling about my original place. The physical appearance of the place and neighborhood where I had lived before I came here, and the environment around the neighborhood also affect to form a sense of feeling as one of the factors that make differences between living in the place in New York and the place in Korea.

As my past neighborhood in my country represents, a way of the arrangement of buildings is not clearly organized along with street and avenue that is pretty different from the houses which are lined up in a row in the current neighborhood where I’m living. If someone looks down New York City from the airplane or from the top of skyscraper such as Empire State Building, they might notice that thousands of buildings are organized by and the lined up that looks like chess board which consists of exact same squares in order, and because of the arranged building, people can even point out their house from a height. The neighborhood where I used live in Korea, whereas, it usually hard to find a certain place because it is usually hidden by other tall buildings. The messy arrangement of building, however, is not a matter to live in the neighborhood, although I’m one of the people who care about urban planning, because I prefer to do laundry in my building rather than going outside with holding up 2 pounds of laundry and walking down the street toward laundry room. In other words, I would like to live in convenient life which means living with many stores or other facilities around my place that allow me to get some enjoyment and convenience from the environment.

It seems like the place in my country is the best place to live in, but the neighborhood has something missed element when I compare the place to the place in New York. There is a lack of personality including youthful and artistic factors in my past neighborhood. Every day I passed by colorful, artistic, sometimes messed up moral art that represent someone’s personality or ability to draw. That kind of artistic element in everywhere forms a personality in my neighborhood in New York.

Sent by Anne from Seoul

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