Crisis in Modern Cities
To better understand a place or a city, one should take a grasp of the complex and the
whole interactions between all of its parts such as buildings, people, and infrastructure. They
should also understand how these parts have changed or will change with time. Italo Calvino, in
his book on the Invisible Cities, uses the character Marco Polo to create fictional cities. (you can
also condense your ideas combining sentences. Example:
… to create fictional cities, whose recounts of his travels reveal/show how the
geographical position of a place and its memories are intertwined. He uses …)
Calvino believes that the geographical position of a place and the memories are
intertwined. Calvino uses fiction to show the crisis that is happening in real life brought by the
transformation of cities from their traditional form to modernity through aspects such as
industrialization, technology, and people.
The process of writing the book was similar to that of writing poems, where writing one
poem to another is done through varying inspiration. Calvino wrote the Invisible Citiesin a series
where he filed ideas and thoughts that he had written and those he wished to write (Calvino 37).
Invisible Cities is widely read and readers see Invisible Cities as a block entailing different
stories, but according to Calvino, it was written in phases where he wrote a piece after another.
Calvino states that the book started as a diary which he used to write on his different moods and
reflections, but the result was the transformation of the books he had read, art exhibitions he
visited, and dialogues with his friends into images of cities. He states that writing the pages, did
not make a book or a novel. Italo Calvino classified the short stories under various titles in
various exchanges such as memories, desires, destinies, routes, and visual properties. (you
should try to condense your ideas, combining different short sentences. To have a better flow, it
is better to alternate between long and short sentences. Example: He classifies the short stories
under various titles in various exchanges such as memories, desires, destinies, routes, and visual
properties, which he unites under one dialogue between the main two characters of his book.
Marco Polo, the traveler comes back from his travels ….)
He mentions that Invisible Cityis a series of verbal dialogue which a traveler Marco Polo
makes to Kubla Khan, the Emperor of the Tartars (Calvino 38). From the fictional sketches
narrated by Marco Polo, Calvino’s cities are full of fantasies. For example, the city of Diomira
can be covered in three days. It has 60 silver domes, bronze statues of gods, and golden rosters.
the city looks like a wondrous place, but the later description of travelers feeling envious implies
that there is no perfect place in the world but a combination of several things from beauty to
envy (Calvino 39).
Calvino mentions that his writing also addressed the city of his time, facing a crisis
makes it difficult to live there. Calvino states (you don’t have to use reporting verbs at the
beginning of every sentence. it is enough to remind your reader that you are making reference to
an author’s work every few sentences or when you want to make a strong statement that is clearly
not yours but the author’s) that the big number metropolis does not only appear at the end of the
book as pieces that seem to evoke ancient cities only makes sense insofar as they have been
throughout and written with the city of today in mind (Calvino 39). Invisible Citiesraises as a
dream born out of the heart of the unlivable cities, we know (Calvino 40). People are used to
talking with the equal insistence of the destruction of the natural environment and the fragility of
the large-scale technological systems. In the 1970s, and as Calvino writes Invisible Cities, there
is a crisis of overpopulation in the cities, which he states is the other side of the crisis of the
natural world. This description of the crisis in the cities is similar to that provided by Ari Kelman
(Kelman, 28). Kelman ( who) states that there is a lot of noise in the city that awakens, disturbs,
and exposes this is not a full sentence. exposes what?(Kelman 31). The urgency to write Invisible
Citiesis to try and figure out the reason why people live in cities despite the crisis facing them.i
think there is more into the book. your sentence makes it sound as if the book is encouraging
people to move out of cities. its objective may be as simple as exposing the crisis in an
imaginative way. Calvino thinks that the book is timely as it gives the reader a chance to see the
current cities with a “new eye”, which calls attention to the destructive impacts of time and the
uncertainty of humanity’s future (Calvino 38).
Other authors have a similar notion on the crisis of the city as Calvino. In the Right to the
Cityby Henri Lefebvre, he views a city as an object. Lefebvre states that the object, the city, as
consummate reality is falling apart unclear. reword. (Lefebvre 57). This view is similar to that of
Calvino, as modernity is taking over the city which is historically constructed is no longer
understood or lived (Calvino 42). The two authors advocate that there is much to be done to
reach out to a new humanism, a better praxis, another person, and the urban society. The second
author, Clayton Rosati, in his work on the Infrastructure of Feeling and the Right to the Cityalso
shares some notions that align with those of Calvino and especially the crisis in the city. Rosati
states that infrastructure brings people in the city together in an expansive social procedure
where we are given the possibility of recreating ourselves through the production of urban cities
(Rosati 255). A new person is created through the development of infrastructure where we can
see people in the streets toiling and hustling to transform the massive networks of infrastructure
(Rosati 256). The transformation that Rosati and Lefebvre are talking about, the hustle, the
changing process from the traditional city to the modern one is similar to the crisis discussed by
Calvino in his book (Lefebvre 59).
Calvino states that the notion of the city that the book presents is not outside time
(Calvino, 40). The book is written in a time where everything is changing due to technology. The
book talks about real issues that are facing people in their daily lives. According to S Panigrahi,
Calvino willingly disregards time sequence on significant occasions when Polo is providing
details on cities he visited when he was exploring and in the deep recesses of the latter’s empire
(Panigrahi 83). Panigrahi argues that Calvino disregards the chronology of time and cities’
patterns to give more attention to his main ideas what are his main ideas?. Polo provides
information from his memories, and thus there lacks the accuracy of time. Lack of chronological
time as stated by Panigrahi is used to show the uncertainty and fear that the city that he has
known all his life might soon cease to exist (Panigrahi 84). The author wants to create an image
that a time is coming, and it is inevitable to face our fates and the crisis of modernity (Calvino
We can conclude that the Invisible Citiesis a fictional art used by Calvino to describe
modern cities. There is chaos existing in cities today. The environment has changed due to
overpopulation causing pollution, and people have also lost a sense of humanity. Everything is
changing from buildings to technology to infrastructures. Calvino uses fiction to describe the
expansion of the modern world, the creation of suburbs and cities, and the overpopulation
brought by the industrial revolution. As such, people must be prepared to fight against what
plagues our modern cities, such as greed, corruption, and capitalism.
Calvino, Italo. “Italo Calvino on” Invisible Cities”.” Columbia: A Journal of Literature
and Art(1983): 37-42.
Calvano, Italo. Invisible Cities. Pdf. (1972).
Kelman, Ari. “The sound of the civic: Reading noise at the New York Public Library.”
American Studies42.3 (2001): 23-41.
Lefebvre, Henri. “The right to the city.” Writings on cities63181 (1996). 57-59
Panigrahi, S. (2017). Postmodern Temporality in Italo Calvino’s” Invisible Cities”.
Rosati, Clayton. “Infrastructures of Feeling and the Right to the City.” Asia Pacific Media
Educator29.2 (2019): 255-256.
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