polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

The City in Abstract

by Brendan Crain

What does the city look like, in your mind's eye. The internet has made visual communication the dominant mode as we have become more reliant on imagery to help us absorb ever more information at ever increasing speeds. How does this affect the way that we understand the urban form? As physical cities grow more visually diverse, their representations will follow suit. At some point, cities can begin to look more like abstractions than actual abstractions of cities. When viewing the following selection of images, make a quick first pass, and then go back and look again. Were the abstractions you saw really abstractions? And were the cities you saw really cities?

And now, again: What does the city look like in your mind's eye?

Brendan Crain is the founder of where and eighthsofamile.

Credits: Images from the Where FFFFOUND Archive.