In our latest episode of Wait Just a Minute, architect and novelist Lesley Lokko explains urbanism, the importance of culture in cities, and how architecture contributes to a city's culture.
What is urbanism?
So, I always think of architecture as the drawing forth of an idea from the brain to a piece of paper. You translate that from a piece of paper to a building, and then you make another translation from a building to a city. So, I think it's about scale. Urbanism is architecture at scale, if you like.
Why is culture important to cities?
Culture is cities and, I think, cities are culture. I think it's the lifeblood of almost anything. I think we don't spend enough time talking about what urban culture really is. We just assume it's something that everybody knows how to do, how to be.
How does architecture contribute to a city's culture?
You know, we like to think about architecture as representing the best of us. You know, if you think about a house, a house is somehow supposed to signal to the outside world, you know, what we're like. But actually, if two people are living inside a house and they have a fight, they don't want the house to represent that, you know? So, architecture in a sense represents what we're not, it represents the best of us, it represents our aspirations.
What are you reading?
I think unlike quite a lot of novelists, I read as I write. I'm reading everything by David Malouf, who's an Australian writer. I read a lot of Nadine Gordimer, who's a South African writer, Nobel Prize-winning writer. I read a lot, yeah.