Hope in Cities and People. And How Riding my Bike is a Lesson on Reimagining 2021 and Beyond.

January 30, 2022
Abi Mapua

I don’t have much faith in the national government, but I have always made a fearless forecast years ago that Cities are the future. I place my bet in the latent power cities and the small organizations within it to govern itself and its people really well. Even though the pandemic shakes the very foundation of what makes cities special and irresistible amidst the pollution and noise, COVID-19 will not kill cities. In fact, I think it will accelerate it to become better for its people. We see actual testimonies of this in the country and globally, cities single-handedly working with private organizations to provide a semblance of a better civic life. Cities having a better judgement in general. And rightly so, they are not far removed from its people.

More importantly, my hope is hinged on the power of people. Cities tend to have a higher concentration of talent and skills, a ‘knowledge economy’ that we have been seeing proves to be the most resilient in this pandemic when major industries are collapsing. Coming into 2021, the landscape and playing field is hugely different, some artifacts, infrastructures, and ways of working and thinking have become obsolete. If you are still in denial that these will still go back to how it was, I’d rather we use our energies creatively reimagining our way moving forward. And this cannot mean we just reimagine how our work and our lives will evolve. It calls for us to reimagine ourselves. Citizens of cities, the youth most importantly, must know how ‘differently’ empowered we are now in this time of great uncertainty and reimagining. We must learn to sniff and sense the times, where it is heading and build possible futures in our head and design accordingly.

One important lesson I learned in riding my bike: Where I focus my eyes is where my body will go. If I keep looking at the ground or the ravine beside me, that is definitely where I will steer my ride to. 2021 will be rocky, perhaps lots of loose rocks, slippery slopes, steep climbs, and tricky descents. Acknowledge it is all there and know where it is. It will serve us well if we fix our gaze on the desired future that we want to have. Our bodies will follow.