Cities, as we historically know, were formed around concentration of resources, more specifically, food. While historians continue to argue about the origin of cities, there is no doubt that cities today are economic powerhouses that propel society and those who inhabit them to push beyond the limits in every possible sense, for worse, or for good.
Humans, among other things, are driven by pursuits. The pursuit of happiness, a more stable or happening life, or the pursuit of finding love, the city offers everyone a chance to achieve something bigger than themselves. While these pursuits can be varied and multiple, they serve important purposes to add unpredictability within a city and thereby contributing to the sustenance of the complex network of life, culture, connections, and environment that is a city. To propel these purposes, we must acknowledge that pursuits in cities range from intentional to unintentional and recognize that these pursuits can seldom be achieved in isolation. By the very act of seeking others within the city who have similar pursuits, and dare I say purpose, human pursuits enable network effects which to the naked eye might seem serendipitous but are very much an active effort to preserve the in-built randomness within cities.
When I look at cities like New Delhi and New York, I would argue that it is the complex set of unwavering pursuits of Delhiits and New Yorkers that successfully allowed these cities to bounce back even after a pandemic-induced mass exodus. The ethos of a city can only be preserved if we actively create opportunities for social connection for those who are driven by complex pursuits and allow them to benefit from the in-built randomness in cities.