Drowned by Modernity

in Architecture+Designlast month

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I've always liked the city. I grew up with the bustling noises of car horns and the dusty air. I like going to malls and arcades, which stir up habitual enthusiasm after being cooped up with a daily routine. It is true for most people who grew up in the cities. By the end of the day, we trap ourselves in a vicious cycle. Work. Dinner. Hangout. Movie. We have the same routine but of a different story.

We are always on the go and busy running the rat race. We call it tradition, but deep in ourselves, we know that we are in a trap. Some call it the best option because we are lack options. As our lives progress, we partake in different experiences. We do travel, visit an art exhibit, or go on a trip in the province. As if a crazy dog is about to bite and come after us, we continue to run the rat race and indulge in modernity. We ended up drowning and overstimulated with it.

Our progress and modernism surround us with elegant skyscrapers and places we can hang out and dine that indulge us with vibrant design and cozy ambiance. I find it a blessing but a curse at the same time. Our cities have creatively designed places, and for us, to have a plethora of options to relax, hang out, and dine. But I find it sometimes overstimulating that it can't satisfy what we need, a break from the vicious routine.

We have hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and even clubs in the city, either one or none in the provinces. Although life in the countryside may not be as extravagant as we have in the city, I find the people happy despite lacking the choice to enjoy a cozy place. Maybe, it is how they lived their lives free from overstimulating built environments and depressing and stressful routines. Perhaps, the green scenery and fresh air.

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When the chance to submerge outside the city presented ourselves, we should take it and experience a shift of perspective. Although I am not a travel buddy, I went to the countryside from time to time to relieve the overstimulation and stressor of the city. I usually go to my grandparents' place about three hours from the city. I find a good place for my wellness and to unwind. Breathe the fresh air overlooking the beaches on the horizon. Sit on the coast and indulge in silence. Think through the things we want.

We can't deny that living in the province is different. Simple but can be life-changing. We can truly focus on the clouds, the mist, and mourning dews. There will be no headaches when sitting in traffic. Although living in the province is good, but work and business are in cities. Most of us won't stay for long. We go back to the cities to work or do business, and financial opportunities are scarce on the outskirts. For most of us, province life is for the short term or the retirees. I was just pumped up and asked myself, why not design cities that help us not overstimulate?

Overstimulation causes our inability to focus on anything essential or challenging in our life. We'd rather sleep in our beds and read through social media than accomplish things we're enthusiastic about many things. Or we'd rather spend the day playing video games or binge-watching Netflix till our eyes bled. We do this because we are expecting the thrill of finding something fresh and controversial. We are just trying to satisfy what was lacking. We often link overstimulation to autism, but it does happen in regular people.

Our indulgence with our built world and the stress in our routine can trigger sensory overload. We experience it when our brains become overstimulated while attempting to process too many sensory inputs. When we are constantly in bright lights and loud noises, we become irritated and lose attention. In most cases, we linked overstimulation to autism, but it does happen in regular people. It can substantially change our habits and the way we live and connect with others. That is why going to the countryside and having some fresh air and the lush greenery can help.


Architecture and urban design can help with urban overload. We may create spaces that inspire positive feelings and emotions and even good wellness. Regardless of our rat race for modernity, we constantly want a space that allows us to be ourselves while still indulging in a quiet and serene spatial experience. We can integrate biophilic design into our built world. By doing so, we can use plants and flowers to boost tranquility in urban spaces. Greenery can lessen stress in our eyes, and perhaps having plants can minimize overstimulation.

Urban forests and parks can help. We often treat the urban forest as sceneries in the cities, but it is far more beneficial than what we think it is. Much like what we wanted in our travel in the countryside to unwind, urban forest promotes our physical and mental well-being. We can have a place for brisk walking and exercise, which is beneficial in relieving our stress. When we focus on building sustainable cities, trees will be an integral part of it, and it is vital for our well-being.

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Every travel we did, we always ended up going back to cities. Perhaps what they say about homing is true, or it is of necessity. Upon returning from our countryside escapade, we always met a cavalcade of automobiles, cutting each other off and honking as they slowly advanced down roadways. It was traffic, but it had become as pervasive in society as a pestering fly on a roadside cafeteria.

We can't deny that cities form us. We return to them, although we appear to have mastered every nook and cranny. Or how overly stimulating the environment to it is not best for our wellness. We'll get used to it and keep up our sanity. As progress is inevitable with the changes that overly stimulate us, we need places to unwind. Or we click our life reset button with a better spatial experience. We can bring the feel of the countryside to urban life through urban planning and architecture.

We found complexity in every setting inside an iron atom or the spices of the food on our plates. It's more likely to be near a blue lake and green pines. A city is inherently complex by definition, where diversity is at its peak. We come together to attempt to make it all work. Some days, we aren't sure how it works. But that's the allure of city life, despite it being overly stimulating. We don't have to do it all by ourselves. We'll work it out together. Perhaps, by then, we can make a better and sustainable built world.


Check out my previous post on Architecture and Design Community

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Featured Photos:
All photos courtesy of the author

Readings:

  1. Charles Spence, Senses of place: architectural design for the multisensory mind

  2. Weijie Zhong, Torsten Schröder, and Juliette Bekkering, Biophilic design in architecture and its contributions to health, well-being, and sustainability: A critical review

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Most of us reside in cities or similar urban zones. And a huge chunk of our population has been trapped in the "Rat Race" routine that it's sometimes difficult to escape from it. Do we even have a choice? Perhaps it might become a painful pill to swallow since that's the only way to continue surviving, isn't it? Fortunately, we have the freedom to change our attitudes towards these challenges. Having said that, one way is to create architecture that truly serves our needs, improves our lifestyles, and enhances our overall well-being. By embracing healthy experiences, we enjoy more fulfilling moments with our surroundings, despite having the possibility of drowning in these modern environments.

Would you rather live in a rural area in the future?

Do we even have a choice? Perhaps it might become a painful pill to swallow since that's the only way to continue surviving, isn't it? Fortunately, we have the freedom to change our attitudes towards these challenges.

I resonate with your statement. We do have a chance to at least not be drowned by our day-to-day activities. Also, a well-designed place can truly serve us both physically and mentally.

Would you rather live in a rural area in the future?

Yes, I can consider myself living in the rural. I love to be in a place that there is a sense of tranquility, but maybe when retired.

Enjoy a slice of !PIZZA.

Yes, me too. Nothing beats an environment that has more beneficial exposure to Mother Nature, like the ones found in rural areas. Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing the yummy pizza!

!LUV the perspective of looking at contrasting landscapes and how it affects life and the well-being of people. I grew up in the province but I love living and working in the big city. Now, I chose to live in a more rural area with less people, buildings, and cars. And I can say that the more green spaces and less toxic environment have helped me maintain mental health and clarity during the pandemic. Although I still live in a city, it is a much smaller one compared to Metro Manila or any of the cities contained within, where I studied and worked for most of my life. A simpler life vs the complexities of living in a megalopolis is an easy decision; though money matters will always play an integral part in the decision making process. :)

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@juecoree, you've been given LUV from @juanvegetarian.

Check the LUV in your H-E wallet. (1/1)

A simpler life vs the complexities of living in a megalopolis is an easy decision; though money matters will always play an integral part in the decision making process.

I resonate with your statement. We want inner peace and provinces are good place to have that, but we are hinder by our choice to put food on our tables, or have that inner peace and tranquility. That is why I believe that urban parks and forest can be a great help for our sanity and body. Enjoy a slice of !PIZZA


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Before, when we used to travel to other provinces, I actually hated it, maybe it's due to the heat. But as I grew older, that's when I realized that life in the province is really simple, and now I'm appreciating it more. I wish I could visit some rural areas again. Life in the City can be toxic sometimes. Though, there are places that are near to nature here in Baguio. I actually miss the beach hehe.

I hope that you're having a great weekend

Before, when we used to travel to other provinces, I actually hated it, maybe it's due to the heat. But as I grew older, that's when I realized that life in the province is really simple, and now I'm appreciating it more.

Definitely true and it resonates with me. Back then, I don't want to spend a longer time in the provinces, but, recently, I find it bliss when I can find a little time to spend time in the province.

Enjoy a slice of !PIZZA

I hope that you'll be able to visit the province some more hehe.

Thanks for the slice. Have a great week ahead!

We can't deny that living in the province is different. Simple but can be life-changing. We can truly focus on the clouds, the mist, and mourning dews. There will be no headaches when sitting in traffic. Although living in the province is good, but work and business are in cities. Most of us won't stay for long. We go back to the cities to work or do business, and financial opportunities are scarce on the outskirts. For most of us, province life is for the short term or the retirees. I was just pumped up and asked myself, why not design cities that help us not overstimulate?

Dear @juecoree, I've seen wild jungles unfold outside the cities of the Philippines.
The cities of the Philippines are modern, but I remember the provinces away from the cities are undeveloped jungles.

Are you talking about the disproportionate development of cities and provinces in the Philippines?
I believe that the balanced development of cities and provinces will be achieved when the agricultural productivity of the Philippines increases, providing sufficient food to the Filipinos.

Are you talking about the disproportionate development of cities and provinces in the Philippines?

Not really. I was talking about overstimulation and urban stress. It is also shown in the write up the disproportionate development, but not main goal of the write up. Enjoy a slice of !PIZZA

Dear @juecoree, It seems I misunderstood your brilliant idea.😄
Thank you for your sweet pizza!

PS: By the way, are the number of coronavirus cases increasing in the Philippines?
Where I currently live, the number of corona virus cases is increasing.

I don't believe the news that coronavirus patients are declining.

By the way, are the number of coronavirus cases increasing in the Philippines?

It is still the same but it seems much better than before.

I don't believe the news that coronavirus patients are declining.

I can resonate with this. I am not sure also if it is declining, but hopefully the numbers that the media are reporting correct.

@tipu curate

Thank you!

I for one am currently living in a more rural area. Even though I live in a "city", it's nowhere near a Manila nor a Cebu. It does have its own charms though like ones you mentioned (e.g. easier access to Mother Nature and the air is definitely fresher).

Yeah, there are cities that despite being a city, it has the glamour and opportunities for us to have access to nature and breathe fresher air. Enjoy a slice of !PIZZA

Thank you for the pizza ☺️🍕✨

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