The city-citizen transaction


Each citizen is in a relationship with other citizens and the city as a whole. There are endless exchanges taking place. Endless transactions.

Transaction (Merriam-Webster):

  1. something transacted; especially: an exchange or transfer of goods, services, or funds
  2. the often published record of the meeting of a society or association
  3. an act, process or instance of transacting
  4. a communicative action or activity involving two parties or things that reciprocally affect or influence each other

 Transact (Merriam-Webster):

  1. to carry on or conduct to a conclusion or settement (
  2. to carry on business
  3. to carry on the operation or management of: do
  4. to carry on business

The webs of transactions across a city are everywhere and at every scale. They may appear small, such as a the payment I make to my dentist, but when I take a step back I can see all the choices I have for a dentist across my city and all the transactions that took place for my dentist to become a dentist and set up her clinic. She needed to grow up, housed, and fed and schooled. She needed to acquire a specialized education. She needed to find staff to work with her and she needed to find a building and furnish it with basic furniture, but also the specialized equipment she uses in her practice. And all that equipment needed to be created and delivered. My simple transaction is simply one end of a huge web of webs: a meshwork.

So where does the citizen fit into this?

A single citizen is in many places all at once in this meshwork. Take my dentist for example. Laura offers specific services to her clients and that is one of her transactions, but like every other citizen, she also needs shelter and food and she makes regular transactions on that front. She also has a family who enjoys life in the city. They play sports, take in the arts and enjoy the latest in movies and video games. People everywhere are creating these opportunities for them in their work.

Everyone, everywhere, is creating city life.

What do you do to create city life?


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This post is part of Chapter 8 – The City Making Exchange. Here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:

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