I have been fortunate in my life, in the fact that I have been able to travel to many different countries. During my travels to different cities around the world, one thing which has really struck me is the ever-increasing similarities between them.This has been mainly due to the influence of western culture. Looking at the skylines of many a city you will see familiar names. Starbucks, KFC, McDonald’s, Mercedes, BMW, VW, Toyota.
Shopping centres housing multiple brand names, from jewelry, to fashion, from electronics, to furniture, etc…, After trips to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur in the last 18 months, I realised that these places are almost identical in look and feel. They all have major banks, stores, restaurants, and shopping malls. The types of residential places are also being being formed into mass produced apartments within tower blocks, with facilities, and amenities all available to the residents of said buildings.
So now when we are being urged to join the property market, we are being offered the ‘community living’ lifestyle. This is where we are encouraged to live as a community and socialise in the shared amenities like the fitness centre, the swimming pool, the massage and wellness centre. We also are encouraged to sign up to community activities which are offered by faceless people who actually would have no idea about how the community would be shaped. Communities are shaped by their residents and the residents are known to each other. Communities have to develop themselves, which is why I question this ‘offer’.
Traffic also looks the same, as we hanker for expensive cars, and certain brands which make us look ‘cool’ and the envy of our neighbours. People now spend their free time driving their cars to the malls and spending endless hours in these malls buying the same things they bought the previous month, but they are now buying the ‘latest model/edition’ of it. As our cultures are slowly being eroded and replaced by a production line of things we now expect to see around us wherever we go, it begs the question: will language and possibly food be the only way to distinguish between the cities of the future?