Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tides of water and people. A Romantic point of view by Ebenezer Howard

Every year, upwards of 135,000 music fans camp among stages in the fields of Glastonbury, a small town in Somerset, England. The influx of people who come from all around the world for the weekend festival swells the population roughly 1,560 percent. Photo Chris Drake.

While reproducing the following words by Mr Ebenezer Howard, I take the opportunity to show some examples of temporary massive migrations, what in Fractal Urban Morphology could be associated to a dynamic system with an attractor, indeed a strange attractor.
All pictures and texts (except for the one in China) below have been downloaded from POV25

Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, openly celebrating Arba’een was illegal. Since his fall from power, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims head to Karbala, a city south of Baghdad, to mark the religious rite. The event marks the end of a 40-day period of mourning after the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad, who was killed in the seventh century. 

In 2009, this 10-day annual festival saw 2.5 million women descend on the area near the Attukal temple in Kerala to give offerings to the Hindu goddess Bhagavathy — an incarnation of the goddesses Kali and Saraswati. What used to be a traditional smaller pilgrimage and festival, in recent years, has become the Guinness World Record holder for the largest annual gathering of women.

The fifth and final pillar of Islam is the Hajj, a pilgrimage which every able-bodied Muslim must complete once in their lifetime if they can afford it. During the month of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, upwards of 2 million Muslim pilgrims travel to Mecca in order to take part in the rite. Photo Ali Mansuri

The annual two-month festival at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala attracts between 45 and 50 million pilgrims each year. During this time, pilgrims make their way up a hillside to enter the Sabarimala temple where the Hindu god Ayyappan is believed to have meditated. The mass of pilgrims is primarily composed of men, as women aged 10 to 50 (those of typical reproductive age) are not allowed inside the temple, due to the fact that Ayyappan was celibate in Hindu mythology.

MR EBENEZER HOWARD (Founder of the Garden City Association) said: 
 I have read and re-read—in the proof forwarded to me—Professor Geddes' wonderfully luminous and picturesque paper with much interest. He has given us a graphic description of the geographic process which leads to the development of the city. We see vividly the gradual stages by which the city grows and swells, with the descent of the population from the hillsides into the valleys, even as the river which flows through the city is fed continually by the streams which flow down to it. But is there not this essential difference between the gathering waters of heaven, as they pour into the great city, and the gathering tide of population, which follows the path of the waters? The waters flow through the city on, on toward the mighty ocean, and are then gradually gathered upward into the soft embraces of the clouds and wafted back again to the hills, whence they flow down once more to the valleys. But the living stream of men, women, and children flows from the country-side and leaves it more and more bare of active, vigorous, healthy life: it does not, like the waters, "return again to cover the earth," but moves ever on to the great city, and from thence, at least for the great majority, there is no chance of more than, at best, a very short stay in the country. No: the tide flows resistlessly onward to make more crowded our overcrowded tenements, to enlarge our overgrown cities, to cause suburb to spread beyond suburb, to submerge more and more the beautiful fields and hilly slopes which used to lie near the busy life of the people, to make the atmosphere more foul, and the task of the social reformer more and yet more difficult. But surely there must be a way, could we but discover it, of imitating the skill and bountifulness of Nature, by creating channels through which some of our population shall be attracted back to the fields; so that there shall be a stream of population pouring from the city into the country, till a healthy balance is restored, and we have solved the twin problems of rural depopulation and of the overcrowded, overgrown city.

2009 Chunyun period, ( Spring Festival Travel Season) Beijing West Railway Station,China. Photo Charlie Fong

Civics: as Applied Sociology by Patrick Geddes Read before the Sociological Society at a Meeting in the School of Economics and Political Science (University of London), Clare Market, W.C., at 5 p.m., on Monday, July 18th, 1904; the Rt. Hon. CHARLES BOOTH, F.R.S., in the Chair.

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